After any car accident, it’s important to take steps to protect your rights. Even if it seems clear that the other driver was responsible for causing an accident, proving fault can be challenging. The auto accident attorneys at Pepper & Odom, P. C. advise victims to take the following steps when they’re involved in a crash.
Keep Calm And Remain On The Scene
Although you may feel shaken after a collision, try to keep calm. Typically, leaving the scene of a car accident is illegal, so you should also stay at the scene until law enforcement arrives.
After making sure you and others are safe, call 911 or local authorities. Even if you believe you aren’t seriously injured or that damage to your car is minor, having the police document the accident is critical, especially if someone else is at fault. A police report is a piece of vital evidence that can help you hold the other driver accountable. If another motorist suggests that you “work it out” on your own to avoid calling the police or making insurance claims, don’t. Calling 911 can also ensure any injured parties get the immediate medical care they need.
It is also essential to gather insurance and contact information from any other drivers who were involved in the crash. Obtain their name, address, phone number, insurance policy information, and driver’s license and license plate numbers. Once you get this information, it’s best not to discuss anything else with them. This is particularly important in cases involving commercial vehicle accidents, as trucking companies may send insurance company representatives to the scene while you’re still there.
Talk To Witnesses
Witnesses can be vital to proving fault in motor vehicle accident claims. Ask anyone who witnessed what happened for their contact information and get a statement about what they saw as well.
Taking photos and video also provides evidence that can prove another driver was at fault. Snap pictures of the damage to vehicles, the scene of the weather, skid marks, traffic signals, injuries, and anything else you may find relevant.
Seek Medical Attention
It’s important to seek medical care after an accident, even if you’re not in any pain or don’t have visible injuries. It is not uncommon for symptoms of whiplash, concussion, spinal injuries, soft tissue injuries, or internal bleeding to be apparent until hours or even days later. A doctor can order diagnostic tests that detect fractures, brain injury or swelling, and other internal damage that could be life-threatening if left untreated. If you decide to pursue a car accident case, your medical records provide valuable documentation that can demonstrate the extent of your injuries and back up your claim.
Inform Your Insurance Company
Even if an accident wasn’t your fault, it’s a good idea to contact your insurance company to let them know what happened. In no-fault states, you may have to file a claim with your own insurance company first. Give your insurer a straightforward account of what happened and answer questions honestly, but do not admit fault or give any further information that isn’t specifically requested.
Contact An Attorney
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a crash that was someone else’s fault, that person should be held accountable. In Alabama, the contributory negligence rule is applied in personal injury claims, which means you won’t be able to recover any compensation from an at-fault party if it is found that you were even partially responsible for a car accident.
Mississippi is a comparative fault state – an injured victim may be able to recover compensation regardless of whether they share a degree of fault for a crash. That’s why it is vital to hire an attorney who understands how to prove fault and is well-versed in the nuances of state liability laws.
An Alabama or Mississippi auto accident attorney can assess your case and advise you of your options. If you decide to move forward with your claim, your personal injury lawyer will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the accident and build a case to prove that the other driver was at fault.
They may use your medical records, police reports, and other evidence such as expert witness testimonies from accident reconstructionists to demonstrate who was at fault for causing an accident. Your lawyer will also handle all negotiations with insurers, fight to protect your interests, and help you recover the maximum compensation you need to protect your health and your financial security.
Schedule A Consultation With An Alabama Or Mississippi Car Accident Lawyer
Our car accident lawyers at Pepper & Odom, P.C. are committed to helping injured victims recover the compensation they need to heal and move forward after a crash. Contact us online or call our office in Birmingham, Alabama at 205-250-1107 or Jackson, Mississippi at 601-202-1111. Our personal injury attorneys represent clients in Alabama, Mississippi, and nationwide, utilizing local counsel.