Car accidents are one of the leading causes of accidental injury in the United States. After you are injured in car accident, you may find yourself not only dealing with the physical pain of an injury. You may also find yourself in financial stress as you are faced with significant medical bills. At the same time, you may be unable to work for an extended period as you recover from your injuries, resulting in a loss of income for you and your family. Thankfully, you may be recover damages from the person whose negligence caused the car accident either through a personal injury lawsuit, or through a settlement with the insurance company. An Alabama car accident attorney notes that the amount of money you receive after you are injured in a car accident depends on a number of factors. However, in order to recover damages, you must be able to prove that you were not a fault for the accident and that someone else was at fault, and the extent of your damages.
Evidence of Fault
Showing that the other driver was at fault for the accident and that you were not at fault is critical for maximizing damages. Thus, it is critical to gather as much information as possible at the scene.
- Witnesses. Make sure that you get the names and contact information for all witnesses. Testimony from eyewitnesses, particularly third- party witnesses, may have a significant impact on a judge, jury, or insurance adjuster.
- Photographs. Photographs will help determine what lead to the accident. Make sure that you take photos of not only the vehicles, but also of skid marks in the road and of the scene around the accident. Evidence of road conditions or possible distractions may be important in pinpointing fault.
- Police Report. Make sure that law enforcement is immediately called and that you give a police report. Police reports are often important evidence in determining fault.
- Say very little. Say very little to others at the scene. Do not discuss details of the accident with the others involved. Do not say more to the police officer taking the police report than necessary. Do not comment on fault. Just give the facts and leave it up to others to interpret them. Do not talk to the other driver’s insurance company. Anything that you say immediately following the accident may be used later in determining fault. In the moments following an accident, you may not have an accurate picture of what really happened. Your perspective may be skewed. Victims have been known to take the blame for an accident, only to later find out that they were not at fault.
Evidence of Injuries
Your damages from a personal injury lawsuit can be not only the amount of your medical bills and your property loss, but also an amount for your pain and suffering. Pain and suffering awards are determined based on a number of factors. However, the more severe your injuries, the more apparent your injuries, the higher the pain and suffering award is likely to be. For example, if the accident left you with an unattractive scar on your face, you are likely to receive a higher award than if your injury left no scars.
- Photographs. Make sure photographs are taken of your injuries as soon as possible after the accident. Bruises will fade over time. So have someone take photos right away. Also make sure that you get photos of your vehicle to give perspective of the severity of your injuries as a result of the damage to the vehicle.
- Doctor’s Testimony. Go to the emergency room via ambulance immediately after the accident. Be very clear and detailed when describing your symptoms to your doctor. Also be honest with the doctor about any pre-existing conditions. In order to give credible, unimpeachable testimony, it is important for the doctor to have a complete picture of your overall health.
Car accidents are often much more complicated than they seem. It may be clear to you that the other driver caused the accident by, for example, speeding or failing to stop at a red light. However, proving fault is not always as easy as it seems. Therefore, it is critical that you take steps to make your case as strong as possible. This is the best way to make sure that you not only win your personal injury lawsuit, but it is the best way to ensure that the damages that you are awarded or insurance settlement that you receive are maximized.
What is the one thing that injured drivers often fail to do immediately after a car accident that significant impacts their financial settlements?