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What to Do After A Car Accident

Posted on Dec 16, 2019

Car accidents can cause a great deal of stress and confusion. Each person involved in the crash must make sure they take specific steps immediately after a collision so they can have the best possible opportunity to recover.

If you suffered severe injuries or a loved one was killed in an auto accident in Missouri, be sure to hire a car accident lawyer right away. Contact the Hershewe Law Firm, P.C., so you can have an experienced Joplin car accident lawyer who will fight to protect your rights and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.

What You Should Do After a Car Crash

No two car accidents are alike, but there are certain actions victims must take that will be beneficial to their cases moving forward. Failure to follow these guidelines may make it difficult to obtain compensation in some cases.

Stay at the Crash Scene

When you are involved in an automobile accident in Missouri, you must come to a complete stop. Remember that Missouri Revised Statute § 577.060 makes leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, injury, or property damage a criminal offense.

Seek Medical Attention

You must always seek medical attention after a car accident. Keep in mind that many injuries can have delayed symptoms, and insurance companies often deny claims when there is any delay in the treatment of injuries.

In other words, the insurance company could accuse you of not treating your injuries properly if you visit a doctor several days or weeks after your crash. Be sure to have a complete health evaluation performed right after the accident. Doing so ensures you have a medical record documenting the appropriate treatment of any injuries.

Contact Law Enforcement

A police report will be extremely valuable to any personal injury claim, so be sure to contact your local law enforcement immediately following an accident to complete the report.

Exchange Information with the Other Driver

Even when another driver was clearly at fault during a wreck, try to be civil and remain calm when approaching them after the accident. Both parties should get the name of the other driver, their automobile insurance information, a license plate number, and a driver's license number. If the other driver refuses to provide this information, you may ask the police officer to obtain it for you or take a picture of the car and license plate.

Take Pictures

Crucial evidence at a crash scene will likely be cleaned up quickly. You can help preserve many forms of valuable evidence by simply using a camera, such as the one found on your smartphone, to take as many photographs of your wreck as possible.

Be sure to get pictures from different angles and distances so you can have a wide variety of images on file. No car accident lawyer will ever tell you that you have too many photographs!

Seek Witnesses

If others witnessed your car accident, you should collect their contact information. Names and phone numbers will often suffice, but you can also get email addresses from the individuals who are uncomfortable providing you with phone numbers.

Independent witnesses are extremely valuable when there is a dispute about liability, and they can provide a third-party perspective that can carry tremendous weight in court.

Notify Your Insurance Company

You are obligated to inform your insurer about your car accident, and you should be transparent and honest.

Your insurer will strive to protect your best interests and can begin working with the other driver's insurance company on your behalf. The other driver’s insurance company will likely contact you soon after the accident and may offer you a lump sum settlement. The proposed settlement amount is most likely only a fraction of what you are entitled to. A Joplin car accident lawyer can negotiate a far more just settlement to your case that covers all of your past, present, and future expenses, and can file a lawsuit if the insurer refuses to provide an adequate amount.

Keep Track of All Medical Expenses

You could face several weeks or months of continuing medical care after an auto accident. Keep track of all medical bills so you can be compensated for them.

If you have trouble affording the costs of medical treatment, a Joplin car accident lawyer may be able to help you get a medical lien. A medical lien will allow you to receive care without any upfront costs. The payment will instead come from any settlement or jury award that you receive.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer

Don’t hesitate to retain legal counsel after your car accident. An attorney will conduct an independent investigation into your crash which will allow them to determine the exact cause, secure substantial evidence, and identify all liable parties.

Hershewe Law is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our firm can visit you in your hospital room or home if you are unable to come to our office.

We also offer a free consultation to discuss your auto accident case, and we will be able to help you fully understand all your legal options. We have been serving the Four-States since 1977.

For more information about auto accidents, visit our practice area page here. You can also take advantage of our free consultation by calling us at (417) 999-9999 or via this Contact Us form.

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