Knowing Your Rights in an Accident is Important: 5 Things You Have to Know When Handling a Personal Injury Claim
Injured in an accident and don’t know what to do? Your passengers injured or people in the other car injured?
Given the stress of the accident itself, you have enough on your mind not to think of legal issues. But, to the extent you can prepare, carry the necessary tools and documentation, and know your rights, you will be ahead of the crisis.
5 things you need to know when handling a personal injury claim
- Immediate Action: You are going to call the police. But, make sure you check on your physical condition as well as that of your passengers and other parties. Settling the claim and estimating the claim can wait until everyone is safe.
After your have secured medical attention and called the police, you notify your insurance company at its claims phone number. Assuming you are safe enough to make decisions, you should answer police, medical, and insurance questions as simply and clearly as possible. Other than assuring the safety of the other party, you gain nothing from a conversation about who is at fault.
- Report Injury: It’s to your advantage to describe any injury to the police, EMS techs, and insurance claims adjuster. Even what seems a slight injury can escalate or deepen. In any case, you need to have as much documentation as you can.
If the accident and/or injury are serious, you need the best car accident lawyer available. One good piece of advice is to carry that lawyer’s business card and contact information with your insurance information.
- Choose Lawyer: You can work with the personal injury lawyer of your choice. That means you do not have to deal with the other party’s insurer. So, you should choose wisely.
You want an experienced personal injury claim lawyer, and attorney who is respectful, diligent, and professional. And, you will feel most comfortable with representation that is honest and straightforward with you and the court.
You also have the right to fire lawyers who do not work in your interest. The Huffington Post advised, avoiding lawyers who are only interested in their own bottom line, delaying settlements and refusing to settle until their fees were increased.
- Appropriate Compensation: Injured parties have the right to proportionate compensation as determined by law or court. You have a right to petition for compensation for pain and suffering, property damage, continuing and future medical expenses, lost wages for time off, and more.
You can expect insurance companies to resist frivolous claims, but they have contractual obligations to make you whole again. Keeping insurance companies honest often takes legal advice and/or action.
- Understand Obligations: When two or more parties are involved in the personal injury claim, you have the right to some key information on your obligations as well as theirs.
For instance, Cornell Law School applies “comparative negligence “In a situation where both the plaintiff and the defendant were negligent, the jury allocates fault, usually as a percentage.” Likewise, the reasonable mitigation doctrine obliges injured parties to make every reasonable effort to avoid further injury and pain.
Knowing your rights
According to the American Bar Association, “Every tort claim, regardless of its basis, whether intentional, negligence, or strict liability, has two basic issues—liability and damages.” You have rights in determining the liability for damages and injury to any party to the accident. Having determined the nature and seriousness of the injury, you have rights to compensation for the loss. But, handling personal injury claims is not a do-it-yourself venture. With a personal injury lawyer in mind and in your wallet, you’ll be ready in any case.