No matter how carefully you drive, there’s always a risk of being involved in an automobile accident when you’re on the road. Even the most defensive drivers can fall victim to an accident, which can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for those involved. There are several questions that may arise after being involved in an automobile accident, so make sure you’re prepared by taking a look at the answers to some of the most common questions and concerns below!
What Is the First Thing to Do After a Car Accident?
Regardless of the severity of the car accident, the most important thing to do immediately after is to call 911. The police and paramedics will arrive to take care of any injured passengers and transport them to the hospital, if necessary.
For minor fender-benders where no one has sustained injuries, try to move the vehicles to a safe area that’s outside the lanes of traffic after taking photos of the crash site. Do not attempt to move the vehicles if there have been any injuries or if the crash has resulted in more serious damages than a minor fender-bender.
Police will investigate and document the accident to prepare their police report. Documenting your medical injuries and the cause of the accident will be vital if you must file a personal injury case. If there were any witnesses to the accident, try to make sure that they stay at the scene so that they can issue a statement to the police.
Whose Fault is It?
State statutory laws usually spell out the specific guidelines the court will use to determine liability for the accident. Louisiana is classified as an at-fault state, which means that it comes down to the negligence and carelessness of the driver(s) who caused the accident. If someone was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, for example, that person would be held fully responsible.
Louisiana is a pure at-fault state with comparative fault. This means that all drivers involved might have contributed to causing the accident and may, in turn, be held financially responsible for the degree of their involvement in causing the accident. Carefully documenting all areas of the accident and your injuries is essential to proving a lower degree of fault. This evidence acts as your proof that you weren’t the major party at fault.
What Do I Need to Do to Help Prove Fault?
It is important that you gather as much information and evidence at the accident site as possible before it becomes irretrievable. Some of the most important pieces of evidence to help you prove fault and your injuries are:
- The other party’s name, contact and driver’s license information
- Automobile insurance information and license plate number
- Photographs of the accident scene and damages to both vehicles
- Proper documentation of any injuries sustained
- Witness contact information and statements
Should I Give a Statement to or Accept a Settlement from an Insurance Company?
Never admit fault or speak with a representative from an insurance company until you speak with an attorney about your case. Insurance companies usually offer a small settlement quickly if they believe that their insured will be held liable for the accident, so make sure not to accept a quick settlement of a claim until you have retained an attorney to represent you.
An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to determine how much your case is worth and will know how to get you a fair, appropriate settlement. Their guidance and expertise can help you get the compensation you deserve.
What Else Should I Do to Help My Personal Injury Case?
You can greatly assist in strengthening your case by obtaining the following information:
- Track all dates of appointments with healthcare providers and record any pain or symptoms you have encountered
- Request copies of all hospitalization and medical records related to the accident
- Obtain a copy of the accident report prepared by the police
- Keep a detailed list of any out-of-pocket expenses you paid for your care and recovery
- Record dates you missed work or other activities in which you were unable to participate due to your injuries
- Obtain a vehicular property damage valuation from your insurance company
How Much Is My Injury and Damages Claims Worth?
Some of the damages are easy to calculate and prove, such as automobile repairs or replacement, hospital and medical expenses, and lost wages. However, it is much more difficult to determine a dollar amount for the emotional and physical pain and suffering a person may have to deal with due to the accident.
For non-monetary, hard to prove claims, insurance companies have come up with special damages formulas to calculate how much they should compensate victims of an accident.
First, the insurance claims analyst tallies the cost of your medical expenses. When injuries are of the less serious type, this total is typically multiplied by 1.5 or 2 to come up with a figure for what is normally called your “damages.” The total is typically multiplied by 5 when the injuries are more severe. If the injuries are extremely serious, life-altering and debilitating, the total can be multiplied by up to 10.
Once this figure has been calculated, the analyst will then include any lost wages you have incurred to come up with your settlement amount. This is normally just a starting amount, as your attorney will usually negotiate with them to try to obtain a higher settlement.
Car accidents are jarring situations that can leave you with several unanswered questions. Use our advice to help keep yourself prepared for anything that is thrown your way. If you’ve been injured or involved in a car accident, contact our office right away to have us fight for the fair compensation that you deserve. You can also call 337-354-3000