A car accident can turn your life upside down in a heartbeat. For many people, a serious crash is one of the most stressful and confusing events they will ever endure. There are some steps you can take to make the period after a Missouri or Illinois car accident less stressful, and improve the chances that you will be able to recover full and fair compensation for your losses. The St. Louis car accident lawyers at The Cagle Law Firm have compiled a list of things you should and shouldn’t do after a wreck.
Steps To Take After A Car Accident in St. Louis, MO
Some people make the mistake of not being organized after an accident takes place. They allow the circumstances to take control and they may find themselves without full and fair compensation. But that doesn’t have to happen to you. By choosing an experienced car accident lawyer, you can protect yourself against the tragedy of being left with a pile of medical bills, lost wages and no compensation for what could be life-altering injuries.
In addition to seeking qualified legal representation, make sure to follow these tips after a car accident:
- Get medical treatment.
Seeking help for any injuries that you, your passengers and the other driver may have suffered should be your top priority after an accident. You might not think you have any medical issues immediately following a collision, but some injuries take time to show up. You should see a doctor soon after the car accident to make sure you haven’t sustained any health problems due to the crash even if you think you don’t need emergency medical treatment. Be sure to describe all of your symptoms.
- Report the accident to the police.
You could be cited for hit-and-run if you don’t inform the police of the crash and wait for them to arrive so that they can begin their investigation. Be prepared to show your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. Be skeptical if the other driver offers to settle the accident without calling the police.
- Get contact and insurance information from all drivers involved.
This information is crucial when you file a claim to get compensation for your injuries. If you are unable to gather the information yourself, make sure the police or someone else does it for you.
- Get witness statements.
Besides you and other drivers, there could be other eyewitnesses to the car accident. Be sure to get their contact information and their statements. Their testimony could be key if fault turns on a dispute over who ran a traffic light, for example.
- Don’t admit fault.
Your natural inclination might be to admit that you were wrong and apologize. Don’t do it. All of the facts are not clear in the commotion after a car accident. Let our skilled car accident lawyers investigate your crash to see who really was to blame.
- Take pictures.
Most cell phones have decent cameras. Use your cell phone or any other available camera to take detailed photos of your car and the accident scene from different angles. Close-up pictures as well as wide shots that provide a comprehensive look at what happened may provide strong evidence for your case.
- Notify your insurance company.
Your insurance company needs to be informed of your accident as soon as possible. If you neglect to make this crucial call, you could damage your chances for recovery. However, make sure that you don’t offer any recorded or written statements until you have consulted with a qualified lawyer.
- Don’t accept a quick-settlement offer.
The at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster may tempt you with a quick, low-ball settlement offer. Be strong and resist it. The offer will most likely be less than what you deserve. Don’t sign any paperwork given to you by the other driver’s insurer.
- Keep a record of all receipts and documents related to the accident.
Paperwork can pile up after an accident takes place. But don’t throw these documents away. The police report, receipts, medical bills and any other documents that are related to the collision could help you in an accident claim. Get a folder out collect every document that has even the smallest connection to your collision.
- Keep a journal.
It is very easy for your memory to slip away as time passes. Take daily notes about your recovery and how your injuries have affected your life. This could be very useful information if you have to recount the incident and its aftermath in any detail to investigators, insurance adjusters or the court system. Also keep track of how much time you have lost from work.
- Don’t delay seeking legal help.
Missouri has a five-year statute of limitations for personal injury clams, while Illinois requires you to file suit within two years. Although certain circumstances can give you more time to file, it is important that you don’t give up your right to recovery by waiting too long.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Missouri or Illinois car accident due to another driver’s carelessness, the compassionate and experienced attorneys at The Cagle Law Firm are here to help. We are dedicated to making sure you are not left to pick up the pieces alone. We will answer your questions promptly and provide you with a detailed explanation of your legal rights.
Call The Cagle Law Firm today at (314) 276-1681 for a free consultation or use our online contact form.