Having represented persons injured in car accidents for over 20 years, I have observed certain key steps you can take immediately after a crash to help preserve and maximize your claim. Obviously, most people who have just been involved in an accident are not thinking about a potential case. The reality, however, is that the actions taken at the scene can have an impact on your level of recovery down the line.
Be sure to obtain the contact information, driver's license and insurance information from the person who struck you. Use your cellphone, or any other camera, to take photographs of your vehicle, debris on the ground, the other vehicle or vehicles, and the scene of the accident. Most importantly, always call the police and report the accident so that they can come out and do an investigation and report at the accident site. If you are feeling unwell, shaken, immediate pain or injuries, inform the police officer and request an ambulance at the scene. If the other driver is issued a ticket for the accident, be sure to go to traffic court to increase the chances of him or her pleading guilty, which may then be used to your benefit in a civil action.
Remember that with this type of case, the more documentation and evidence you have supporting your position, the better leverage you will have during settlement negotiations and litigation. Also remember that your settlement or judgment will likely be paid by the insurance company of the person who hit you, not by the person himself. Keep in mind, that the first responsibility of the insurance company is to their insured, in other words, the person who hit you and caused your injury. An insurance company often uses a team of people working on a claim for their insured, from investigators to attorneys. Using the above tips, as well as having a strong and aggressive advocate protecting and fighting for your interests, is the most effective way to receive the best value that your claim is worth.
If you or someone you know has been in a car accident, please call the law firm of CTM Legal Group LLC at 312-818-6700 for a free consultation.