You have been in an accident. Your car looks nothing like it used to just minutes before. It may have happened because of a problem with the road, an issue with the weather, your driving skills, involvement with drugs and alcohol, distracted driving by you or the other party, speeding or any other of a myriad of causes. And the result may be as simple as needing a touch of paint to restore the way your car looked or as dramatic as people losing their lives.
What should you do after a car accident?
Before you start thinking about a lawsuit and imagining how much money you might be able to receive, you need to take some immediate actions:
- Call 911 to get a police officer on the scene and get a police report on what happened
- Make sure you are safe, protect the safety of your passengers if there are any and, if possible, the safety of the other driver
- Don’t become the other driver’s best friend. Avoid admitting guilt and giving any other information that is not required
- Get the contact info of everyone involved in the accident, this includes the type of car they drive, the license plate, and VIN. Also, get their insurance information
- Take out your phone and take pictures of the accident, both cars, the road conditions and any other item that may have contributed to what happened
- Write out your own report of what happened. Include the date and time, the road conditions, the nearest cross street, and everything you can think of regarding what happened
- If there are any witnesses around that are willing to talk to you, get their testimony and their contact information
- Call your insurance company. It may work in your favor if they come to the scene of the accident
What not to do after the accident
Don’t admit guilt, don’t allow the other driver to convince you not to call the police, don’t negotiate with them without your lawyer present. Always remember that you don’t know who the other party is, what their insurance policy looks like or any other details.
Where can you recover damages from?
Most likely, either your insurance or the other driver’s might end up compensating you for any injuries you suffered and damages. IF the accident was the other driver’s fault, you may want to recover more than the cost to repair your car, lost wages or any medical bills you might have incurred. You may wish to be compensated for intangible items such as pain and suffering.
How much money can you expect to receive?
Factors that influence how much you get, include:
- The amount you have paid in doctor’s bills
- The amount of lost wages since the accident
- The cost to have your car repaired
A good amount would be to multiply these numbers by three. Average payouts range from $14,000 to $28,000.
The other driver’s insurance policy maximum may end up determining how much you get unless you also file with your own insurance company and claim any sums that you couldn’t get from the other driver. This is assuming you have under-insured motorist coverage.
Don’t waste time since you generally have only one or two years from the date the accident happened to file a lawsuit. Talk to an experienced attorney that can help you with your personal injury lawsuit to get the most money for your claim.