Being involved in a car accident is one of our worst nightmares, and driving safely doesn’t always protect one from other drivers’ mistakes, recklessness, or negligence. The cost implications can be enormous. Although insurance should cover the cost of damages to your vehicle, injuries can cause downtime you can ill-afford. If those injuries have permanent effects, your situation could be a sad one.
Recovering the costs you incur after a car accident will be important. In this article, we look at ways to minimize the financial burden of car accidents you didn’t cause:
1. At the Scene of the Accident
Check out the basics first, call the police, and then get to work. Even when those responsible for causing an accident are willing to admit guilt, they may change their tune if court cases ensue. If you’re at all able, take pictures of the accident scene, get the contact details of any motorists or passersby who witnessed the crash, and consider recording any exchange between yourself and the other driver.
Do not move your car until the police arrive. If it’s just a “fender bender” and nobody is injured, you can consider doing so, but remember that the aftereffects of a crash can be worse than you expected. For example, whiplash and other internal injuries can take time to manifest and be far more debilitating than you might expect.
If at all possible, it’s best to wait for the police to arrive since their accident scene findings will be important in settling the case if the other driver decides to dispute it.
2. Yes, You Can Afford Legal Help
When you’re counting pennies, you may worry about the cost of getting legal help. Don’t. A good car accident attorney can make the difference between your receiving a minimal payout that doesn’t even begin to cover the costs that flow from an accident, and getting adequate compensation.
In addition, attorneys often offer free case evaluations and only charge you for their time if they can win your case. This form of billing means that you don’t have to worry about amassing massive legal costs on a case you can’t win. If you do win, the extra compensation you receive will more than cover your costs.
Apart from ensuring that insurance companies treat you right, your attorney can help you to identify and claim against the “extras” like loss of income, medical treatments and therapies, and even intangibles like pain and suffering. It’s a good idea to have a reputable attorney’s number saved to your phone in case of emergencies so that you can get legal advice quickly when you need it.
3. See a Doctor as Soon as You Can
You may think that you aren’t injured seriously enough to see a doctor, but you should have yourself checked out as soon after the accident as you can. In the early adrenalin rush following a crash, you may not even notice certain injuries, and since some of the very serious injuries you could have incurred may only show up days later, it’s worth getting a doctor’s help as soon as possible.
This not only ensures that you get speedy treatment that could minimize the effects of injuries, but also strengthens any case you might need to make for personal injury after the accident. If you take too long to go for help, it might be argued that you sustained the injury elsewhere. Be on the safe side!
4. As the Dust Settles, Stay Smart
“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t,” is a good motto to remember in the aftermath of a car accident. If insurance companies or the legal firm hired by the at-fault driver contact you offering an early settlement, you may be tempted to get your hands on the cash as fast as you can and put the crash behind you.
However, early settlements are hardly ever “good” settlements. If you accept them, you may be relinquishing the right to claim the full amount you’d be owed if justice prevailed. If you’re considering accepting an early settlement, consult your attorney – chances are, he or she will tell you not to do so – and for good reasons!
4. See the Process Through
Dealing with car-accident-related disputes can be mentally and psychologically exhausting, especially at a time when you’re coping with all the extra fallout that comes with a crash. However, it’s worth persevering so that justice can be done. Hang in there! Get the compensation you deserve. Sure, nothing can really make up for the trauma of a car crash, but you owe it to yourself to recover your costs to the max.