You know that you weren't at fault for your car accident. The driver who hit you and totaled your car was clearly at fault, and was even ticketed at the scene. You now find that your medical bills are adding up and your insurance company is giving you a hard time about paying for everything. It seems to you that the other driver should be held liable for your damages, but you don’t know if your case is actually worth anything. After all, your car wasn’t worth much to begin with and you are not permanently disabled. Is it worth pursuing a claim?
Do You Have Enough Evidence for Your Claim?
Even when an accident victim is seriously injured and free of any liability in the crash, the amount of a potential settlement will depend on being able to prove a case. This boils down to having the right kind of evidence to present in a settlement negotiation. Car accident attorneys can do the most for you when you have access to the following pieces of evidence:
- A police report. The police should always be called when an accident results in any level of injury or property damage. Your next step is to obtain a copy of his or her report. It contains information that will be vital to prove your case, such as details of the crash and the responding officer’s identification and contact information.
- Medical records. Even if you don’t feel too bad immediately after an accident, go to the emergency room for an evaluation. This will be the first thing the insurance adjuster or opposing attorney will look for as proof that you were not seriously injured. Also, be sure to keep copies of reports from all subsequent doctor visits related to your accident injuries.
- Criminal charges. Was the driver who hit you issued a DUI or charged with another crime at the scene? This information can establish unquestionable liability, so be sure to ask.
- Witnesses. If there were others at the scene who witnessed the crash or the aftermath of the crash, you should try to get contact information in case statements are needed later. If you are too hurt to do this at the scene, ask a police officer or family member to gather names and phone numbers.
- Pictures. It’s easy enough with today’s cellphones to quickly snap some pictures of the accident scene before cars are moved. This scene can later be described, but cannot be recreated. Nothing will tell the story as well as a few pictures. Again, ask someone else at the scene to take photos with your phone if you are unable.
- Work records. Document all days or partial days missed from work due to your accident. You may be entitled to recovery of lost wages and this information will be key to prove how much you are owed. Also, a record of any other activities you had to miss due to the accident or ways your family has been affected by your injury—the need to hire babysitters or house cleaners, for example—can add to your damage award.
Other Valuable Information About Car Accident Claims
If you hire an attorney to help you pursue a settlement, one of the first things he or she will want to know is what you have said or posted about the accident. If, for example, you told people at the scene of the accident that you made a mistake—or even if you apologize to others—it can come back to haunt you. Be honest with your attorney, however, as he will need this information to support your case. You should always avoid posting anything about the accident on social media, but if you have, take it down and let your attorney know.
Another key piece of information to gather is the limits on your and the other driver’s insurance policy. Unless you are hit by a millionaire, the amount of insurance coverage will likely set the limit of what you can recover.
Why You Need a Car Accident Attorney
Insurance adjusters may contact you and offer you a settlement in the days following the accident. This is probably the lowest possible offer you will get. If you have much of the above pieces of evidence, you should contact a personal injury attorney to represent you as you will likely be able to get a lot more than this initial offer. Call us at (888) 348-2616 now to discuss your case.