Experiencing a car accident caused by another driver is a stressful and disorienting situation. Having some knowledge about what to do if you find yourself in such a situation can help you take the necessary steps and get the help you need to protect your right to recover compensation from the negligent driver.
As car accident attorneys in Kansas City with over three decades of experience representing injured victims, we know what questions you have after a car accident. Whether you have already been in a wreck and are seeking advice, or you want to be prepared for the future, we give you the answers you need to make all the right moves.
What Should I Do Immediately After a Car Accident in Kansas City?
It's important to know what steps to take and what mistakes to avoid immediately following the accident to ensure your safety and protect your interests. Here's a list of essential steps and why they are important.
Check for Injuries
First and foremost, check yourself and any passengers for injuries. If anyone is hurt, call 911 immediately. The safety and well-being of everyone involved is the top priority.
Move to a Safe Location
If it's safe to do so and your vehicle is still drivable, move it to the side of the road or a safe area to avoid the risk of further accidents or traffic disruption.
Call the Police
Regardless of the accident's severity, it's crucial to contact the police and report the accident. They will create an official accident report, which can be invaluable for insurance claims and legal proceedings.
Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver involved in the accident. Collect their name, phone number, address, insurance provider, policy number, and vehicle details.
Document the Scene
Take pictures of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, license plates, road conditions, and any relevant road signs or traffic signals. These photos can be crucial evidence later on.
Obtain Witness Information
If there are any witnesses to the accident, gather their contact information. Their statements may be helpful when dealing with insurance companies.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Be honest and thorough when providing details about the incident. Your insurer will guide you through the claims process.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you don't think you're seriously injured, it's essential to seek medical attention. Injuries might not be immediately apparent, and prompt medical care can prevent long-term health issues.
Maintain a detailed record of all accident-related information, including medical records, repair estimates, and expenses. These documents will be vital for insurance claims and any potential legal actions.
Don't Admit Fault
Avoid making statements that could be interpreted as admitting fault, even if you think you might have contributed to the accident. Fault determination can be complex, and it's best to leave it to the authorities and insurance companies.
Stay Calm and Composed
Emotions can run high after an accident, but it's important to stay calm and composed. Avoid confrontations with the other driver and focus on gathering information and ensuring your safety.
Consult an Attorney
If you believe the other driver was at fault and you're facing significant injuries or damages, call Peterson & Associates. We can help protect your rights and pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
By following these steps after a car accident caused by another driver, you can protect yourself, ensure you receive proper medical care, and help facilitate the insurance claims process. Additionally, you'll be better positioned to seek compensation for any damages or injuries you've sustained as a result of the accident.
When Should I Consider Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer in Kansas City?
While not all accidents result in legal complexities, there are situations where hiring a car accident lawyer is essential to protect your rights and interests. In the following complicated situations, we think you would be wise to consider seeking legal representation.
If you or your passengers have sustained severe injuries in the accident, it's crucial to consult a car accident lawyer. Severe injuries can lead to extensive medical bills, ongoing treatment, and potential long-term disabilities, making it essential to pursue maximum compensation.
Disputes over who was at fault for the accident can complicate the claims process. When the other driver or their insurance company refuses to accept responsibility, a lawyer can help investigate the accident, gather evidence, and build a strong case on your behalf.
Multiple Parties Involved
Accidents involving multiple vehicles can lead to complex liability issues. Determining who is responsible for your damages may require legal expertise, especially when multiple parties share the blame.
Inadequate Insurance Coverage
If the at-fault driver has insufficient insurance coverage to fully compensate you for your losses, a car accident lawyer can explore other avenues for recovery, such as your own underinsured motorist coverage or pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.
Preexisting Medical Conditions
Preexisting medical conditions can make it challenging to separate accident-related injuries from existing health issues. A lawyer can help establish a clear link between the accident and your injuries, ensuring you receive fair compensation.
Complex Insurance Policies
Dealing with complex insurance policies, policy limits, and exclusions can be daunting. A lawyer can navigate the intricacies of insurance contracts to help you receive the maximum coverage you're entitled to.
Loss of Income and Future Earnings
If the accident has led to a loss of income or future earning capacity due to your injuries, a lawyer can assess the financial impact and work to secure compensation for your economic losses.
Emotional Distress and Pain and Suffering
Non-economic damages, such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life, can be challenging to quantify. A car accident lawyer can help you seek compensation for these intangible losses, which may be significant in certain cases.
Legal Deadlines (Statute of Limitations)
Every state has specific deadlines, known as statutes of limitations, within which you must file a personal injury lawsuit. Missing these deadlines can result in losing your right to seek compensation. A car accident lawyer will ensure your claim is filed within the appropriate timeframe.
Inadequate Settlement Offers
If the insurance company's settlement offer doesn't adequately cover your losses, a lawyer can negotiate on your behalf or file a lawsuit to seek fair compensation.
Hiring a car accident lawyer after an accident that wasn't your fault is essential when faced with any of these complicating factors. The knowledgeable car accident attorneys at Peterson & Associates will guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and work to secure the compensation you deserve.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Assist Me in Dealing With Insurance Companies?
Car accident victims often find themselves navigating a complex web of legal and insurance processes when seeking compensation for their injuries and damages. This is where a car accident attorney plays a pivotal role in assisting these victims in dealing with insurance companies. Our team brings extensive legal knowledge and negotiation experience to the table, working tirelessly to ensure that our clients receive fair and just settlements.
Filing Insurance Claims
Car accident attorneys ensure that all necessary paperwork is completed accurately and within the required deadlines. They file insurance claims and, when necessary, initiate personal injury lawsuits against the at-fault party to protect their client's interests. By doing so, they keep the legal process on track and prevent potential time-related pitfalls.
Negotiating With Insurance Companies
Experienced attorneys are adept negotiators. They engage in conversations with the insurance company's representatives to secure the best possible settlement for their clients. They can push back against lowball offers and advocate for the victim's rights, leveraging their knowledge of similar cases and precedents to build a compelling argument.
Protecting Clients From Manipulation
Insurance companies may employ various tactics to undermine a victim's claim, such as recorded statements and attempts to shift blame. Car accident attorneys shield their clients from these tactics, providing guidance on what to say and what not to say, thus minimizing the risk of saying something that could be used against them.
Our car accident attorneys serve as advocates and legal allies, ensuring that the insurance company fulfills its obligation to provide fair compensation to the victim. By leveraging our knowledge and experience, we maximize the chances of achieving a favorable outcome for our clients, ultimately easing the burden on car accident victims during their path to recovery and justice.