There are roughly 6 million car accidents each year in the US—a frightening figure whether you’re engaged in a short commute or a cross-country road trip.
But despite this frequency, navigating the aftermath never gets any easier. The frustration of insurance companies combined with mounting medical bills can be stressful, which is where your car accident lawyer comes in. With the right legal help, you’ll get the compensation you deserve with fewer headaches—but what advice should you follow up front?
To make your attorney’s job a little easier, here are three key pieces of car accident legal advice you need to know in advance.
- Be Prepared
Here’s one of the best pieces of car accident advice you’ll ever hear: prepare in advance! Having what you need in your car can help reduce your stress and the chances of mistakes when an accident happens. You should have these things on hand at all times:
- Paperwork: make sure your registration and insurance information is in a folder in your glovebox, as you’ll need to show these to the police after an accident
- Notepad and pencil: have these ready so you can write down the other driver’s information, contact details for witnesses, and any other notes about the incident
- Disposable camera: though you’ll likely have a cell phone, a dead battery at the wrong time can mean you’ll have no images of the damage, so make sure you have a backup camera just in case
Store these items in a safe place, and hope you don’t need them!
- Document Everything
Every detail is important, so make sure to document as much as you can while you’re at the scene.
As a general best practice, you’ll want to get the following information into your files:
- the other driver’s insurance information and contact details
- the license plate, VIN, and make and model of the other driver’s vehicle
- photos of the damages to your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle
- photos of the vehicles after impact, before moving to a safe location
- photos of any street signs, obstacles, or other relevant details
- photos of your injuries
- the contact details of any witnesses
- a copy of the police report
In addition, take some time after the accident to write down everything you remember about the accident, as stress and adrenaline can make memories harder to recall. Try to note any important details like inclement weather, the traffic conditions, and signs of the other driver’s impairment or distraction.
- Be Careful What You Say
The worst things you can say after an auto accident are “I’m sorry” and “I’m fine.”
Saying “I’m sorry,” even for any minor part of the accident, can later be used as evidence that you’ve admitted fault for the accident. Don’t apologize to the other driver, and don’t admit fault to the police. Don’t admit to indulging in any of the common causes of car accidents, either (for more information, read on here).
Saying “I’m fine,” even if you believe you’re uninjured, can later be used to show that you suffered no physical damage. This can be an issue because car accident injuries can be subtle, worsening over time or showing up suddenly after a day or so. The last thing you want is to have a record that you suffered no injuries when you’re seeking compensation for expensive medical bills!
Use This Car Accident Legal Advice
Your attorney will help you deal with the specifics of your case, but following this essential car accident legal advice will help increase the chances of a successful claim or lawsuit. With a little preparation and some expert assistance, you’ll find it easier to establish fault and get the compensation you deserve faster.
Want more of the critical legal tips you’re looking for? Check out our other posts for additional insights.