Following an accident, most people first focus on recovery. Second, they think about paying for bills, especially if the accident caused severe injuries. House payments, car payments, replacing the damaged vehicle, and putting food on the table are all concerns following an accident. If the accident victim suffered catastrophic injuries, a family member must focus on these issues. Let an experienced car accident attorney assist you with the legal and financial matters of your case.
First Steps After an Accident
In some cases, an accident can cause minor injuries. If the accident victim can take action at the scene, they should call first responders and check on others involved.
Then, they can:
- Take photos of the accident scene. Be sure to get photos from all angles capturing the damage, including damage to the road and nearby property.
- Obtain contact information from witnesses.
- Obtain the other driver’s license, registration information, and phone number.
- Give the police officer your version of what happened.
- Allow emergency medical technicians to check you over—this is the first step in documenting injuries, regardless of how minor.
- Seek medical attention as soon as the police release you from the accident scene.
- Contact a car accident lawyer.
If the accident victim cannot move or is unconscious, they will be unable to take any of these actions. The victim or their family needs to contact a car accident lawyer immediately so that the attorney can start the investigation before the evidence disappears.
Steps a Car Accident Lawyer Takes to Help You Recover Compensation
After an accident victim retains a car accident lawyer, the lawyer investigates the case and reviews the medical records to determine what might be a fair and reasonable settlement. If doctors expect the injuries to result in long-term or permanent disabilities, the victim could recover additional damages in the form of non-economic damages.
Once the attorney reviews the case, they will contact the insurance company via a demand letter. The demand letter gives the insurance company the basic facts of the accident, an outline of the injuries, and the amount of compensation the victim likely deserves.
The insurance company can accept the demand and pay, submit a counteroffer to the victim’s attorney, or deny the claim.
Your attorney will take the appropriate steps to move forward, including preparing for trial if the insurance company denies the claim or refuses to pay a fair and reasonable amount.
How Long Before an Accident Victim Gets Paid
One of the most common questions attorneys hear is: “How long before I get paid?” There is no answer, and no attorney should provide a definite answer because no one can see into the future or correctly anticipate what an insurance company will do, especially early in the case.
Settlement negotiations could go back and forth several times before the insurance company agrees to a fair and reasonable amount. If the insurance company refuses a fair and reasonable settlement, your attorney must prepare for court.
Once you file a complaint with the court, you are at the mercy of scheduling. After the discovery process, including your attorney deposing the other person, the court files a pre-trial motion to request a hearing.
After a Settlement Win
Many cases settle without going to court.
After the insurance company agrees to a fair and reasonable amount, the victim must take several steps before receiving payment:
- One of the attorneys, usually the insurance company’s attorney, drafts a settlement agreement.
- You and your attorney review the settlement.
- If acceptable, you sign the agreement, and your attorney sends it back to the insurance company’s attorneys.
- The insurance company processes the settlement, then cuts a check for the appropriate amount to your attorney.
- Your attorney deposits the check into an escrow account and waits until it clears.
- Your attorney then pays your outstanding medical expenses and reimburses your insurance companies (health and auto) if you use them to cover medical expenses and other damages until you receive your settlement.
- The attorney deducts their fees and costs.
- The attorney then cuts you a check and mails it to you, at which time you deposit the check.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a car wreck, contact a vehicle accident attorney as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.