The surest way to spoil an otherwise good day is by being involved in a car accident. Even if it’s completely not your fault, or even if it is entirely your fault, a car accident is a bummer of the highest magnitude. The rest of your day, and most likely a prolonged section of your life, has just been disrupted and the consequences could persist for many years to come.
So what’s the best way to deal with this adversity? Are you going to let a car accident wreck your life? Or are you going to face this tragedy head on and get your life back on track as quickly and efficiently as possible? Here are some simple steps you can take to keep the damage to a minimum.
The Accident Scene
The main thing to do right after a car accident is to make sure you’re okay and all your parts are still working adequately. If not, if something won’t stop hurting or you are bleeding, you need to get to an emergency room immediately. If you are not seriously injured, you’ve got to remain calm and go through a post-accident checklist.
First, get all the insurance, driver’s license and contact information from all the participants. Make sure you keep this information in a secure place. That means don’t just input it to your smartphone’s memory; be sure to upload it to your cloud storage in case you lose access to your phone through loss or breakage.
Second, take some pictures of the accident scene. You may very well need these to refresh your memory, months later, when an insurance adjuster calls and needs specific details of the accident. These pictures should also be uploaded to your cloud storage.
No matter how small this car accident may seem to you, at the time of the incident, there could be health ramifications, such as soft tissue injuries that did not immediately present themselves. This whole thing could get much more complicated, and expensive, later. So the best course for dealing with any car accident is hiring an attorney.
The best way to hire any law professional is by getting an endorsement from a friend or family member who has recently required legal services. If no one you know has hired an attorney recently, you’ll need to do some research.
Yelp, Angie’s List and other service review websites are helpful, but be mindful that some reviewers may have ulterior motives for giving either good or bad reviews. Make sure you check on the reviewers’ past history in order to evaluate their integrity. Lots of reviews, both good, and bad, usually mean this is a thoughtful honest reviewer.
Whose Fault Is It?
Blame for this accident will eventually be assigned after scrutiny of all the relevant facts. Sometimes it’s obvious; for example, a driver was drunk, or speeding, or driving a defective vehicle.
But facts can also cloud the issue, especially when one driver seemed to be distracted, but denies he or she was. Your attorney is going to have to prove that there was a distraction and, secondly, that it caused the accident. Accomplishing all of that can be difficult.
As an attorney experienced in distracted driver cases, Jeff Benton of the Benton Law Firm, explains, “Many people think of texting while driving as the main cause of distraction, but there are many ways for a driver to become distracted and cause a serious accident that injures innocent people … With distracted driving cases, it is often difficult to prove that a driver’s distraction caused an accident. They may try to hide their phone, delete messages, or cover up phone use at the time of the crash in order to avoid liability.”
That’s why it is so important to gather as many facts as you possibly can, right there at the scene of the accident, and right after the incident happened – when the evidence is all still ‘fresh’.
Getting Back to Normal
After the car accident, the first thing you’ll be thinking about is getting your car back in working order, in exactly the same condition as it was before this accident. Your attorney can help with this because she or he knows, from experience, what hidden problems can lurk beneath your car’s sheet metal skin. Problems that insurance companies will often try to gloss over to keep repair costs down.
Just because your car’s bent fender was replaced and repainted doesn’t mean that there very well could be broken or bent suspension components, beneath that fender, that also need to be replaced. A good attorney will make sure your car is expertly evaluated – after repairs – to make sure it is safe and in good working order before you sign a release.