You might not know what to expect after a car accident if you have never been in one before. In the immediate aftermath, you’ll need to call the police and exchange information with the other driver. In the coming days and weeks, you may need to recover from any injuries, deal with legal matters, and seek compensation through an insurance claim.
If someone else caused your injuries, an Augusta car accident lawyer can usually help you to recover compensation from the liable party. For example, when people act negligently and cause car accidents, they or their insurance company may need to pay the victims for their injuries. Read on to learn more about what to expect after a crash and how to get the financial recovery you may need.
What Happens Directly After a Car Accident?
As soon as a car accident occurs, someone must call 911 to report the crash. Next, determine if anyone has injuries and if they need to get checked out by an emergency medical team. Of course, if you have any signs of injury, you should also accept medical help. Even if your injuries seem minor, getting checked immediately can make a crucial difference for your health and your case.
Once the police arrive, everyone involved and the witnesses can describe their account of the events. The cars will then get towed away, and the scene will get cleared. Before this happens, take photos of the vehicle damage and any debris showing how the accident happened. You should also exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver if you can do so.
Then, as soon as possible, contact your insurance company to report the accident. They could ask you to describe what happened, the damage to your vehicle, and if you sustained any injuries. Give them a brief description of what happened. However, refrain from admitting fault and avoid making a recorded statement, as these things could later hurt your compensation case.
Legal Issues to Expect After a Car Accident
If the liable party and their insurance company refuse to take responsibility for the accident, you could have to deal with resolving issues. While you could take on these legal issues on your own, typically, a personal injury attorney could help you handle the process and seek the compensation you need. Thankfully, many personal injury attorneys offer free consultations so you can determine if you want an attorney to help you at no cost.
Some of the legal issues you might have to deal with after a car accident could include:
- Proving the liable party acted negligently. The liable party may have to pay you for your damages if they acted negligently and caused the crash. To prove negligence, you must show the liable party breached their duty of care to other drivers, such as by speeding or running a red light. The injured party must also prove that the breach of duty caused the accident and that the victim incurred damages because of their injuries.
- Negotiations with the insurance company. If you sustained an injury, you should get as much evidence and documentation as possible to prove that. During negotiations, the strength of your evidence could make a big difference in the outcome of your case. Usually, an attorney can help you to negotiate if you aren’t comfortable doing it yourself.
- A court case if negotiations don’t help you settle. If the insurance company refuses to pay the compensation you deserve, you might have to file a lawsuit. At this point, it can prove crucial to hire an attorney to represent you and advocate for you to receive the compensation you need to pay for your damages. An attorney has experience with litigation and can help you navigate a jury trial.
While other legal issues could arise after a car accident, you might have to deal with these common things. Consulting with an attorney can make this process much smoother.
You Could Recover Compensation After a Crash
If the car accident happened because of someone else’s actions, you could recover compensation. Compensation comes in the form of recoverable damages. Recoverable damages refer to the amount of money a defendant must pay to an injury victim for their losses.
After a car accident, you could recover various types of damages. Damages refer to either economic or non-economic losses that you can recover after a crash. Economic damages compensate the injured person for the actual monetary losses they incurred. The goal of these damages is to make someone financially whole again. Injured victims shouldn’t have to pay for their monetary losses when someone else caused the accident.
Types of economic damages someone could expect to receive after a car accident include:
- Medical costs: You could recover any necessary medical expenses through an accident claim or lawsuit. Medical costs could include emergency room care, an ambulance ride, hospitalizations, surgeries, diagnostic tests, visits to a doctor, or medications.
- Future medical care costs: Sometimes, people who sustained injuries in a car accident could require medical care far into the future. If this happens, you could seek to recover the projected amount of future medical costs you could incur. Usually, an attorney can help to determine those estimated amounts.
- Rehabilitation costs: If your injuries require you to seek rehabilitative care, such as physical therapy or occupational therapy, you could recover compensation for the out-of-pocket costs you had to pay.
- Lost earnings: If you had to miss work while you recovered from the accident, you could seek to recover the money you lost. If you might have to miss work in the future, you could seek the projected amount of future lost income you could lose.
- Property damage: In some cases, the insurance company will not pay the full amount of what it costs to repair or replace the vehicles involved. If this happens, you could include the extra costs to get a new vehicle or to repair your current one in your claim.
An attorney can make calculating your economic damages easier. They can also help you to gather evidence to prove you sustained these damages.
You could also recover non-economic damages after a car accident. These damages compensate injury victims for their non-monetary losses, which are more subjective and aren’t tied to tangible losses.
Non-economic damages you could recover after a car accident could include:
- Pain and suffering: These damages compensate the injured person for the pain, anguish, inconvenience, and discomfort they experienced due to the accident. If you experienced these feelings, you could seek compensation through a claim or lawsuit.
- Emotional distress: These damages compensate the injured victim for the emotional turmoil or negative psychological effects of the accident or their injuries. If you experience anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep issues, or fear, you could include these damages in your claim or lawsuit.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: You may not have the ability to enjoy your normal activities as you did before the crash. If so, you can seek these non-economic damages from the liable party.
Non-economic damages can prove slightly more difficult to calculate since these losses don’t have an actual financial value. Usually, when you seek legal representation from an attorney, they can help you determine the value of these damages. The value of your economic and non-economic damages can help you estimate your case’s worth.
Injuries to Expect After a Car Accident
After a car accident, you might not feel like yourself for quite some time. Car accidents can cause mild to severe injuries depending on the factors associated with the accident.
Factors that can affect the severity of the injuries include:
- If the people involved in the accident wore their seat belts
- Which part of the car the accident occurred on
- The speed of the collision, since high-speed collisions can usually cause more severe injuries than those that happen at a lower speed
- If the car had airbags and if they deployed as necessary
Many other factors can affect the seriousness of the injuries resulting from a crash.
Someone could recover from minor car accident injuries in a few days. However, if the injuries prove severe, it could take someone the rest of their life to recover. As a result, they might never live the same quality of life as they did before the accident.
Common Minor Injuries From a Car Accident
Common minor injuries someone could sustain in a car accident could include:
- Whiplash: Whiplash refers to a neck injury that occurs when the neck forcefully and rapidly moves forward to the back. Rear-end collisions commonly cause this injury. Usually, whiplash can diminish within a few weeks. Sometimes, pain medication and exercises can help, but typically this injury heals on its own. However, it’s important to see a doctor to ensure your injuries don’t result in further complications.
- Scrapes and cuts: Small scrapes and cuts can happen in a car accident. Typically, a bandage is the only necessary intervention if it’s just a small scrape or cut, and the wound will typically heal within a few weeks.
- Bruises: A bruise forms when a blow causes the blood vessels to break around the skin’s surface. Blood gets trapped underneath the skin, causing a blue mark to show up. These typically heal on their own within a few weeks.
Minor injuries typically don’t require a lot of medical attention and can heal on their own within a short amount of time. However, if you ever feel like an injury isn’t healing as quickly as it should, you should have a medical professional check it out to ensure it’s nothing more severe.
Common Severe Injuries From a Car Accident
If a car accident happens at a high rate of speed, more severe injuries could occur.
Some common severe injuries people in car accidents sustain include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): A traumatic brain injury can come with mild to severe symptoms depending on the severity of the injury. A TBI can temporarily affect your brain cells, but some of these injuries affect victims permanently. People with a serious TBI could have a cognitive disability, see major changes in their personality, and face other challenges.
- Chest injuries: A chest injury could cause someone to end up with broken ribs. Having broken ribs can be especially painful, requiring someone to undergo a long healing process. In a crash, the force of the upper body against the steering wheel or seatbelt typically causes chest injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries: A spinal cord injury happens when a victim faces damage to the spinal cord. These injuries can change the sensation someone feels below the injury site for the rest of their life. In severe cases, victims could lose the use of movement in their arms and legs.
- Broken bones: Broken bones can take many weeks to recover from. Sometimes, these injuries can cause someone to undergo several surgeries. In severe cases, people might not have the same capabilities as before they broke their bones.
Sometimes, adrenaline can cause you not to notice the pain of an injury. It can prove crucial to look out for symptoms after the accident to ensure you don’t need to seek further medical attention. The sooner you seek medical attention, the more it could prevent further damage from occurring to your body.
Regardless of the injury you sustained in the crash, you should seek compensation through a car accident claim or lawsuit if someone else caused the accident.
How Can an Attorney Help After a Car Accident?
We highly recommend people who sustain injuries in car accidents seek legal representation from an attorney. Attorneys can help you to get the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries. They can also walk you through what to expect after a car accident.
Ways an attorney could help after a car accident include:
- Organize the evidence of the case
- Communicate with the insurance company on your behalf
- Conduct their independent investigation of what caused the accident
- Build a solid case strategy to prove the liable party’s negligence caused the accident
- Negotiate with the insurance company or opposing attorneys to get you more compensation than they originally offered
- Represent you in court if a settlement doesn’t get reached through the negotiations
- Provide support throughout the claims and lawsuit process, so you don’t feel alone
Having an attorney represent you after a car accident comes with many benefits. Mainly, attorneys understand the law and can guide you through the legal process. They can also help you go after the best possible outcome in your case.
An Attorney Can Help You Recover Compensation
To seek the maximum amount of compensation after a car accident, call on an Augusta personal injury lawyer to help you. Many law firms offer free consultations to initial clients. During the consultation, you can ask the firm’s representative all your questions, and they can provide answers. In addition, the representative can give you a detailed overview of how an attorney can help you with your case.