Immediately after an accident, you are often left dazed, confused, and stressed. It can take a few minutes for you to realize what just happened. Your first concern is always your safety. Next, you must ensure the safety of others at the scene.
An accident could happen when you least expect it, and most people don’t know how to respond or what to do in these situations. If you make the wrong choices, you could be preventing yourself from receiving compensation, leaving you stuck to face expensive medical bills and auto repairs on your own. But it does not have to be this way, and you can take steps to ensure you don’t have to cover these expenses alone. However, you must know the proper steps to follow, including what to do, what to say, and how to file a claim. Failing to take the proper steps will likely be a costly mistake. Personal injuries come with many challenges and expenses, and your insurance company won’t always pay for everything. You can get stuck paying for medical bills and car repairs. You can also lose money while you are away from work to heal. In these cases, you might be considering a personal injury claim. Here are some things you must consider:
Accident Claims First Step
After you ensure your safety and the safety of others, the next step is to protect your ability to pursue a personal injury claim, and this is where many people go wrong. Due to stress, it’s easy for you and others to misremember the incident. It’s vital you take steps to prove what happened, which includes taking pictures, speaking to witnesses, and filing a report. Do not assign blame or voice your intent of filing a lawsuit during the evidence collection phase; this can cause a conflict and further complicate an already stressful situation. However, when you speak to the police and your insurance company, inform them that you are going to file a lawsuit. You must write down anything witnesses tell you, and ensure you collect their contact information in case you need it later. Even though you don’t want to inform the other party of your intent to file a claim at the scene of the accident, it’s vital you inform them shortly after. Ideally, you want to do this the same day as the accident. When you contact them, they might be upset or try to argue with you, but you must avoid this. Getting into a shouting match with the other person will do more harm than good, so keep the conversation as brief and simple as possible. You don’t want to say anything that could be used against you in court or harm your chances of being compensated.
How Long Can You Wait to File a Claim
Not all injuries are noticeable immediately after an accident. As a result, there is no limitation or expiration on your right to file accident claims when the accident involves a private citizen. But as time passes, evidence can be lost, and the memories of witness start to fade. Thus, you must file your claim as soon as possible. It’s also important you note that you are never obligated to file an accident claim. When you inform the other party of your intent, you are simply preserving your right to do so. If your injury resulted from an accident involving a government agency or employee, you have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit. The time limit will vary depending on where you live, but in most cases, you must file your claim within 30 days to a year after the incident. If you fail to do so, then you will likely lose your right to receive any compensation. If possible, filing your personal injury claim the same day is the best option, whether dealing with an individual or government agency. It reduces the odds of evidence being lost or misplaced, and the memory of the accident will still be fresh in the minds of the witnesses. So, try to file the claim the same day, but don’t wait any longer than a week. When it comes to handling situations such as this one, procrastination is your enemy.
Injuries can be stressful and overwhelming, but they can also be expensive. Many people make the mistake of trying to handle the first few steps of their accident claims on their own. But without the proper training, it’s easy to miss critical steps along the way. Therefore, it’s vital you always consult a lawyer for advice before attempting to move forward. This will enable you to get the best possible chance of winning your case and collecting the compensation you need to cover you medical, auto repair or any other related expenses.