What to do When You’ve Been in a Car Accident
Car accidents happen to even the best drivers. The reality is that you can never really trust anyone else when it comes to driving.
One minute you’re driving home from work, and the next minute you’re lurching forward into your airbag. It only takes seconds to fall victim to a mistake that could have devastating consequences.
Personal injury from an accident that wasn’t your fault can have a tremendous effect on your life, from the most minuscule tasks to affecting the quality of your work. You can’t always rely on insurance companies to be fair and compensating on your end, so it is necessary to contact a personal injury lawyer if this happens to you.
Here are 7 steps to take when you’ve been in a minor car accident to make sure you get the most that you deserve from a personal injury settlement, and nothing less.
7 Necessary Steps for Filing a Car Accident Settlement Claim
1. Do not apologize to the other driver.
You might feel the urge to get out of your car and tell the other driver you’re sorry, whether you caused the accident or not. Many people feel sympathetic or panic after a collision.
If you do this it could potentially be used against you when you are trying to figure out who is at fault. Telling the other driver you’re sorry could be taken as an admission of guilt.
This could cost you a lot of money in the long run, especially when you have to file a claim for accident benefits. If you are found at fault for an accident, your insurance policy will increase as well.
2. Don’t say that you aren’t hurt.
Even if you don’t feel any injuries, you could still have some. Sometimes the shock of getting in an accident can give you an adrenaline rush, which distracts from any pain that you might actually be in.
Some injuries are not visible, but can have the potential to limit your daily life, such as a concussion. These types of injuries are not detected right away while you’re trying to deal with the immediate situation.
Mentioning that you aren’t hurt at the time of the car accident can be used as evidence in court when you’re making a personal injury claim. This could get your case dismissed and you won’t be able to collect the compensation you truly deserve.
3. Take photographic evidence.
This might not be the first thing you think of when you get in a car accident, but you more than likely have a smartphone or a phone with a camera with you. Make sure you take pictures of the accident and the damage when it happens.
It is also important to take pictures of the road conditions at the time of the accident. These conditions will have a significant role to play as evidence when you file for a personal injury claim.
4. Call your insurance company.
If you are injured in a minor car accident, you will not be able to get accident benefits or file a claim if you do not contact your insurance company when the accident happens.
Make sure you do this the day of the collision, as your memory will be fresh and you’ll be able to remember all of the details properly. In Ontario, you have seven days to contact your insurance company or you won’t be able to file a claim at all.
It might be tempting just to settle with the other driver off the record, especially if your car has less damage. This is extremely risky for multiple reasons.
Firstly, you have to rely on the other person to agree with the cost and come through with the money they owe you. Some people might see the opportunity to avoid payment and you can’t even guarantee they’re giving you the right contact information.
In addition, the other driver might not agree to pay you the amount that you actually need to fix your car.
You might think settling with the other driver will save you money on your insurance. However, if you are not at fault, the cost of your insurance will not go up. In some cases, insurance policies have an accident forgiveness clause, which means that your first collision will not affect your policy.
5. Go to a doctor.
You might think that your injuries are minor and that seeking medical help is unnecessary. However, it is always necessary that you check in with a doctor after you’ve been in a car accident, regardless of the extent of your injuries.
If you do not do this, you will not be able to file for an injury claim or settlement. Every insurance claim or application for accident benefits is based on medical reports and treatment records from the doctor that treated you.
If you do not go to the doctor, you don’t get these records, and you won’t be able to get the settlement that you truly deserve.
6. Contact a personal injury lawyer.
If you were injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you could be eligible for accident benefits or a car accident settlement.
Your best defence is someone who is going to fight for you and make sure you get the compensation you need, especially if your injuries have placed limitations on your everyday life.
There are many different types of benefits that you could be eligible for depending on the situation and the conditions of the accident. These include income replacement benefits, caregiver benefits, non-earner benefits, injury or medical benefits, and in some cases, visitor benefits.
It is a must to contact a personal injury lawyer, because you need someone who is going to make sure you get what you deserve. For more reasons a lawyer will help you, watch the video below.
7. Read everything you sign when you’re making an injury claim.
You will always have to sign an agreement consenting that you have given permission for your doctor’s notes to be used for your claim. This is standard and is what needs to be done in order to get the compensation you deserve.
However, you need to read all of the fine print and make sure there are no hidden claims or clauses in the documents. Do not sign anything that claims you are not hurt or were at fault for the accident.
If you are not sure about the documents you have to sign, go over them with your personal injury lawyer. They will make sure you are not signing anything that will be used against you in court.
If You’ve Been in a Car Accident, Contact Conte & Associates Today
At Conte & Associates Personal Injury Lawyers, we understand how painful being in a car accident can be. That’s why we fight for you until we get you what you deserve.
Servicing Vaughan and Whitby as well as the surrounding area, we work with top Ontario medical experts and professionals to get you the right help you need. We are compassionate for all of our clients and will do what it takes to make sure they succeed.
Contact Conte & Associates for a consultation at 1-877-614-0008 to find out how we can help you get justice.