Understanding Your Rights: Legal Options After a Car Wreck

The results of a car wreck can be devastating. Even a minor accident can have a huge impact, as it is possible to be seriously injured, suffer damage to the vehicle, and have to miss work to take care of the situation. When someone is seriously injured in a car wreck, it is important for them to understand how to handle the situation and their legal options.

Right to Medical Care

Those who areinvolved in a car wreckhave the right to seek medical care after the accident. The cost of this should be covered by the at-fault party, so the victim of a car wreck should not have trouble getting the care they need. Depending on the severity, emergency care may be necessary. When it’s not, it is still important for the victim to seek care as soon as possible after the accident, ideally within the next day or two. There may be hidden injuries, so they will want to be checked out by a physician to make sure they get the right care.

Get a Police Report

The victim of a car wreck does have the right to file a police report and receive a copy of it for their records. In severe accidents, the police may show up to do a report while emergency services are taking care of the patients. Even in smaller accidents where there are no physical injuries, though, the record may be required by the insurance companies as it can help provide information about how the accident happened and whether it was determined one driver was at fault. In most cases, a copy of the report can be obtained from the local police department.

Speak With a Lawyer

Once everything has settled, it’s time to look into obtaining compensation from the at-fault driver. A good way to get started with this is by talking to a lawyer. Often, insurance companies will try to minimize the compensation offered to save money. However, the victim should receive all of the funds they’re entitled to so they can financially recover from the accident. A lawyer can help negotiate with the insurance company and take the case to court if necessary to help their client receive more funds.

File a Claim With the Insurance Company

The victim will need to file a claim with their insurance company. This should be done as soon as possible after the accident to prevent delaying past any deadlines. The statute of limitations for filing a claim can vary from state to state. A lawyer can help victims with filing the claim and ensuring it is done on time to prevent potential issues. The victim’s insurance company will then contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company to begin negotiating compensation.

Determine Compensation

It is crucial to know the proper amount of compensation to request from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Compensation should cover any financial costs the victim has as a result of the accident and can include all of the following.

  • Medical Expenses – Medical expenses resulting from the accident should be covered by the driver at fault.
  • Future Medical Costs – If the victim is severely or permanently injured as a result of the crash, future medical costs can be included in compensation.
  • Vehicle Repairs – The at-fault driver should pay for the vehicle to be repaired or replaced, depending on the severity of the damages.
  • Lost Wages – The victim may not be able to work for a period of time while they are recovering from injuries. The lost wages can be included in the compensation.
  • Loss of Income – If the victim is no longer able to work or can’t work in the same capacity anymore, the settlement may cover the loss of income in the future.
  • Pain and Suffering – Though this can’t be determined through bills or receipts, if the person is severely injured, they may be awarded extra funds to cover pain and suffering.
  • Punitive Damages – In some cases that go to court, a judge may award punitive damages to discourage the at-fault driver from making the same mistake in the future and causing other accidents.
  • Legal Costs – The victim may be able to recover the funds needed to pay a lawyer to help them with the case.

Consider Settlement

Once the victim has requested compensation, they will need to consider any settlement offers they receive. This is where having a lawyer becomes crucial. A lawyer can help the victim determine if it’s a good idea to accept a settlement, even if it doesn’t cover all costs associated with the accident, or if it may be better to negotiate something higher or take the case to court. It can take some time to negotiate, but that is faster than taking the case to court. The lawyer may be able to help negotiate a settlement much higher than the original offer, depending on the situation.

Go to Court

If it’s not possible to negotiate a settlement, the next step is to take the case to court. This can take a long time to complete, but it may be the best way to get the full amount of compensation needed to cover the accident. It is vital to have a lawyer for this part of the process, as they understand the court processes and what needs to be done to win the case. The lawyer will work closely with the client during this part of the process to help explain what is happening and the potential outcome.

If you’ve been a victim of a car accident and were injured, you have the right to compensation from the at-fault driver. This is intended to help ensure the victims of an accident do not have to financially cover costs associated with the accident, but that they’re paid by the driver who caused the crash. If you are unsure what steps to take next or how to make sure you receive enough compensation for the accident, talk to a lawyer today to learn more about how they can help.

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