Knowing what to do after a car accident can influence the potential success and value of your claim. Some accident victims might experience severe injuries and wake up in a hospital bed with no recollection of what happened. Others might be conscious during and after their accident and experience intense feelings of fear in the days and months that follow because of their experience. Understandably, you might not have the clarity of mind to know how to handle a car accident right after one happens. However, the more of the following steps you can take, the more you help your attorney successfully resolve your claim. Read on to learn more about the steps to do after a car accident and how a lawyer can help you.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Though no one ever hopes to be involved in a car accident, you might be wondering, What steps do you take after a car accident? Knowing how to handle a car accident, despite the rush of adrenaline and emotion in the minutes following one, helps you protect your rights and preserve important evidence. After ensuring your safety and the safety of those around you, take the following steps after an accident:
- Move to a safe location. If possible, move your car and yourself to a safe place. It’s against the law to leave the scene of an accident, so stay near the accident scene until the police and emergency personnel arrive.
- Call the police. Call the police to request their assistance at the scene. The responding police officer will make an accident report providing valuable information that can be used by your attorney.
- Document the scene. Take photographs of your car, any other involved vehicles, the surrounding area, and your injuries. Any documentation of the scene helps your attorney build a stronger case on your behalf.
- Exchange contact information. If possible, exchange information with all other involved parties. Information to collect includes their name, insurance information, contact information, and a photograph of their driver’s license.
- Get contact information from witnesses. If any witnesses were at the scene, get their names and contact information. Any information they provide can help your attorney investigate your accident and strengthen your claim.
- Call your insurance company. Notify your insurance company of your accident. However, only speak to insurance adjusters with your attorney present.
- Seek medical attention. Connecting your injuries to the accident is important for your claim, so you should get a medical evaluation as soon as possible, no matter how minor your injuries might seem. You should be evaluated even if you don’t think you’re injured because some injuries only appear in the hours, days, or weeks after an accident.
- Keep detailed records. Maintain detailed records of your accident, including invoices, bills, accident reports, and other information. Your attorney utilizes all of these documents to strengthen your case for compensatory relief.
Lastly, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to explore your options. Your attorney can immediately start investigating the facts and circumstances of your accident to determine the best path forward for your case.
What Can I Recover in Damages?
If you suffered injuries and property damage in a car accident, it’s important to remember you have the right to recover compensation for those losses. Kentucky law permits injured victims to recover compensatory damages from the party responsible for their harm. Because Kentucky follows a rule called pure comparative negligence, you can recover some damages even if you were partially at fault for the accident. Compensatory damages come in the form of economic and noneconomic damages. Although rare, punitive damages can also be imposed by a court.
Economic damages represent direct financial losses related to your car accident. Common examples of economic damages include the following:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of future earnings, and
- Property damage.
Retain all copies of receipts, pay stubs, invoices, medical bills, and other documentation to support your demand for these losses.
Noneconomic damages represent intangible losses often resulting from an accident’s psychological and emotional consequences. Common examples include the following:
Although these losses are difficult to quantify in monetary terms, you shouldn’t underestimate how much noneconomic damages can be worth. Due to their subjective nature, proving noneconomic damages is difficult to do without the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.
In certain circumstances, punitive damages might be awarded if the responsible party acted with fraud, malice, or oppression. Punitive damages seek to punish the wrongdoer for their conduct and to deter similar behavior. Although Kentucky law applies no cap on punitive damages, it is up to the court and jury to determine a suitable dollar amount.
How Can an Attorney Help Me?
Car accident cases can quickly become very complex, especially when multiple drivers are involved. A qualified personal injury attorney can help you in numerous ways, including the following:
- Protecting your rights;
- Investigating your claim and gathering evidence;
- Working with expert witnesses on your behalf;
- Drafting and submitting legal documents, including initial complaints, settlement agreements, and discovery requests;
- Keeping track of import deadlines and the statutes of limitations;
- Handling negotiations with insurance companies and opposing counsel; and
- Litigating your case at trial.
The more your claim is worth, the more insurance companies and opposing parties will fight to avoid responsibility. You might be suffering from severe injuries after your accident that require extensive medical treatment and force you to miss work. You deserve to recover compensation for all of the losses your accident has caused. Without an attorney advocating for your best interests, recovering what you need to move forward can be incredibly difficult.
At Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC, we understand that no one wants to hire an attorney unless it’s necessary. When you realize the accident that caused you and your family so much suffering happened only because of someone else’s conduct, you have a right to feel angry, overwhelmed, and emotional. We can help you turn those feelings into a drive to see that justice is done. With nearly two decades of legal experience, the Gladstein Law Firm team knows how defendants and insurance companies think, how they are likely to approach a claim, and what strategies they might use to defeat your claim. Our legal team can devise a plan that helps you obtain the financial relief you and your family deserve after enduring such a traumatic event. Contact us today to get a free case evaluation and find out how we can help you.