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The first few minutes that come after getting into a car accident are usually scary and confusing, but once the initial shock has worn off a bit, you’ll need to start taking action as best you can if you want to have the opportunity to pursue compensation for damages, medical bills and lost wages at a later date. Of course, tending to any serious injuries should be priority, but if you are able, there are several steps you can take that begin at the scene of the incident to make the claims process go more smoothly. Experienced car accident lawyers suggest that those who want to make sure they get the most out of their personal injury claim take the following advice.
Make a Police Report
Calling the police right away is not only a legal requirement in most states, but also strongly recommended. The official police report will be a key document for insurance companies to reference when reviewing a claim. It will contain specifics about the accident, and oftentimes, the viewpoint of the officer regarding fault, which can help you in the long run if you are truly justified in your claim.
Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
One of the biggest determining factors in how successful your settlement turns out to be is whether or not you have a car accident lawyer on your side to help you with the claims process. Working with a lawyer experienced in handling these types of cases will considerably improve your chances of receiving a fair payout. They have the skills necessary to negotiate on your behalf, which really comes in handy when dealing with a claims adjuster who is clearly trying to present a lowball offer. In addition, an attorney will complete all of the required paperwork, making sure to meet all deadlines, and will also take the stress of the whole procedure off your shoulders while you recuperate from your injuries.
Take Note of the Details and Keep Evidence on File
Noting the details of what happened yourself is extremely important. You will need to share your version of events with a claims adjuster and your lawyer, and as time goes on, there’s a chance that some things could be forgotten if not written down. If there is any dispute with your claim, it will significantly help in proving your case to have evidence on hand such as witness testimonies, photos of the scene where the accident occurred and pictures of your injuries and their progression.
Organize Bills and Receipts
It’s a good idea to have all medical bills, auto repair shop estimates and receipts showing what you’ve already paid organized and ready to hand over when asked for them. This will help in assessing the value of your claim and prevent you from accepting a settlement offer less than the amount it will take to cover everything.
Hopefully, working with a car accident lawyer and taking these other steps will allow you to settle your claim out of court with the results in your favor.