I Was Not at Fault in My Auto Accident—What Steps Should I Take?
If you have been in an auto accident caused by the negligence of another driver, you may wonder what steps you need to take to ensure your medical expenses and other damages are taken care of. The following are important steps to remember should you ever be involved in a Virginia auto accident:
- If you can, move your car out of the way of other traffic. This is not always possible, and if your car cannot be moved, then turn on the flashers and remove yourself and any passengers out of harm’s way.
- Call the police. Even when there is minimal damage and no injuries, it is almost always advisable to have a police report to give to the insurance companies. A police report often offers an unbiased third-party opinion on what caused the accident—an opinion which can be invaluable when you are attempting to prove fault.
- Exchange information with the other driver. You will need to get contact information for the other driver, as well as insurance information. It is a good idea to snap a photo of the other driver’s insurance card, driver’s license and license plate.
- When possible, take photos of the scene of the accident, the damage to the vehicles, the surrounding areas and any visible injuries. If you are physically unable to take these photos, perhaps a passenger in your vehicle might be able to take the photos for you.
- If there were witnesses to the accident, collect witness contact information. Having witnesses who saw the accident can really make your case.
- Keep a careful record of everything you can remember about the accident—even the details you may not think are all that important—as well as a file with all your medical expenses and a detailed record of medical treatments.
- Speak to an experienced Virginia auto accident attorney as quickly as possible following your accident. The quicker your attorney is on the case, the better your outcome is likely to be.
Should I Call the Police After My Accident?
You should always call the police following a Virginia auto accident. Under Virginia law you are required to call the police if there are any injuries, a death, or if the property damage is more than $1,000. Even following a minor fender bender, the damage to the vehicles are likely to be more than $1,000, simply because body work is so expensive. It is almost always a good idea to contact the police following a car accident so you will have a police report to give to your insurance company. Particularly when the accident was clearly the fault of the other driver, you will want that information in a police report to avoid the driver saying later the accident was not his or her fault.
Should I Accept An Offer from the Insurance Company?
It is almost never a good idea to accept the first offer from an insurance company. Despite the many commercials we see on television which show insurance companies as our friends, the goal of all insurance companies is to pay out as little as possible on a claim—in other words, their financial bottom line is what they will be thinking about, rather than your injuries and your future. Insurance adjusters are trained negotiators. This means no matter how “helpful” your insurance adjuster may seem, his or her job is to protect the interests of the insurance company by minimizing the amount of money paid on each claim. Particularly when the other driver is at fault in your car accident and you are attempting to file a claim against his or her insurance company, that insurance company is not obligated to treat you fairly.
The first offer from the other driver’s insurance company is rarely a fair one, and the goal will be to get you to settle your accident claim as quickly and cheaply as possible. A quick settlement offer can be disastrous for you, however, when you find later on that your injuries were more extensive than you first thought and will require more medical interventions for a longer period of time. Be aware, however, that once you refuse the first settlement offer, the insurance company may begin ignoring you. This is a delaying tactic, and the right way to deal with an insurance company who is employing these types of tactics is to have your attorney deal with the insurance company right from the beginning.
How Could Hiring A Lawyer Make a Difference in My Claim?
Most of us may try to take the simplest route following a car accident by negotiating directly with the insurance company. While this is understandable, research shows that hiring an attorney can dramatically improve the way an insurance company values your case. In other words, an insurance company is simply more likely to take your seriously when you have legal representation than when you do not. When you hire an experienced auto accident attorney from Tronfeld West & Durrett, you are able to place your focus on healing and getting back to your normal life while your attorney handles the legal details and obtains a settlement on your behalf. Your attorney will be constantly protecting your rights while looking out for your future.
Contacting a Tronfeld West & Durrett Attorney Can Truly Make a Difference
If you have recently been injured in an auto accident which was caused by a negligent driver, it is essential that you get the legal assistance you need. Having a Tronfeld West & Durrett attorney by your side can ensure you have the time to heal from your injuries, while an experienced attorney takes care of the legal issues associated with your accident. We will work hard to get you the settlement you need and deserve to cover your medical expenses, lost wages and other expenses related to your auto accident. Contact Tronfeld West & Durrett today.