With about 6 million car accidents a year, it’s essential to know what to do if you find yourself in this unfortunate scenario. Don’t wait until a collision occurs to figure out what to do next; it’ll be a lot more complicated since you’ll be in shock. Being prepared ahead of time will ensure you handle the situation efficiently.
One of the biggest questions you might have is when to get an attorney for a car accident. Every circumstance is different, so while there may not be a quick answer, our guide will go through what to do after an accident and when you should be hiring a car accident lawyer.
Let’s get started.
What to Do After a Car Accident
When you’re in a car accident, it can be challenging to process what just happened immediately. Take a deep breath. Staying calm will help you see more clearly instead of panicking, which might cloud your judgment.
The first thing you need to do is call 911 and report the accident. This helps notify both the police and emergency medical teams of the collision, sending them your way. When the cops arrive, be sure to give them as much detail as possible.
The police report will be invaluable when establishing liability and fault. Even if you don’t believe you’re seriously injured, be sure to have a doctor look at you. That medical report will also come in handy.
Otherwise, it’ll be your word against theirs.
If you’re able to, be sure to gather evidence while waiting for the police and medical team to arrive. This means taking many photos and videos of license plates, vehicle damage, traffic patterns, intersections – anything that can help your lawyer establish fault. If there were any eyewitnesses, be sure to get their contact information to reach out to them if necessary.
Contact a Lawyer
Either before or after you gather evidence, look for car accident lawyers. Unfortunately, many insurance companies will look to reduce their liabilities by offering accident victims low settlement offers. It usually isn’t enough to cover everything you need to recover.
The right auto accident lawyer will immediately begin building your case and help you get the settlement offer you deserve. Of course, depending on your particular circumstance, you may or may not need to call a law firm.
When to Get an Attorney for a Car Accident
Although you may already know this, it’s unnecessary to call an auto accident attorney if the accident is insignificant. For example, a car bumps into yours at low speed in the parking lot. There are no injuries and minimal to no damage.
These smaller accidents are usually resolved by going through your insurance company and getting it solved with the other person in a timely fashion. Let’s look at when an accident warrants calling an attorney.
Serious Injuries or Death
If a car accident results in serious injuries or death, you’ll want to talk to an attorney. Hospital visits can cost a lot of money, and you’ll want to ensure you get those payments covered if you’re not at fault. If there’s a fatality, whether you’re a surviving loved one, or if it’s the opposing driver, an attorney can help you navigate this incident.
If the accident takes place in a construction zone, you’ll need to call an attorney. This also refers to violations on the part of the driver or hitting a worker. There are penalties and hefty fines for accidents that are in construction zones.
There might be a circumstance when it is unclear who is at fault. Illinois is an at-fault state, which means that the driver who causes an accident uses their insurance to pay the other driver’s bills.
You should also know that medical coverage only pays out after fault is determined, which means more legal complications to deal with until it’s settled. Call an attorney for legal guidance on navigating who is at fault.
Problem with Insurance
Insurance companies want to save money, and so this might mean you don’t get the settlement offer that you deserve. You might also be in a situation where you or the other driver doesn’t have insurance. Instead of dealing with insurance problems yourself while you’re trying to heal, call an experienced attorney.
Inaccurate Police Report
Did you take a look at your police report and notice that it’s inaccurate? Maybe it puts the blame on you with false claims. If that’s the case, you’ll want to call an attorney, so you don’t deal with the consequences of a false police report.
Was a pedestrian or additional car involved in the accident? You’ll need to contact an attorney because this adds legal complexities that you’ll need help navigating. Even if there doesn’t seem to be significant injuries, it’s crucial to find legal assistance when other parties are involved.
Always Be Prepared
We never want to imagine ourselves or a loved one in a dangerous situation. However, it is better to be prepared for the worst and expect the best.
There may not be an easy answer for when to get an attorney for a car accident. Still, it’s good to remember that accidents that result in no damage to minimal damage (or no injuries) don’t usually require you to call a lawyer. Serious accidents will need help from a law firm.
Be sure to research beforehand so you know that you’re equipped for whatever happens.
Looking for an Illinois lawyer to call if you get into a car accident? Be sure to contact us for more information!