Fair compensation is not guaranteed after a car accident. To recover your losses, there are important steps you need to start taking right away.
Although you can handle the case on your own, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced car accident lawyer who can act in your best interest. Your attorney can assist you with multiple aspects of your case with the goal of achieving the most favorable result.
7 Essential Steps for Winning a Car Crash Case in North Carolina
Evidence is the key for prevailing in any accident claim. You need to prove that the other driver caused the accident and that you suffered injuries and damages as a result.
Taking these steps immediately after the accident is the best way to build a viable case:
1. Gather as Much Information as Possible at the Scene of the Crash
The more information you can gather at the scene of the accident, the better. The easiest way to do this is to take plenty of photos and videos with your phone. In particular, you will want to try to document:
- The crash site and the surrounding area
- The damage to each vehicle
- The other vehicle’s license plate
- The other driver’s insurance information
- Traffic and weather conditions
If anyone witnessed the accident, you should ask for their contact information. You will also need to provide a statement to the police officer before leaving the scene. Your car accident lawyer can help you obtain a copy of the police report at a later date.
2. See a Doctor Immediately
You should go to the emergency room right away after leaving the scene of the crash. The sooner you obtain a diagnosis for your injuries, the easier it will be to link your injuries to the collision.
If you wait to see a doctor or refuse medical treatment, the insurance companies will likely try to argue that (a) you cannot prove you sustained your injuries in the crash and (b) even if you sustained your injuries in the crash, your delay in seeking treatment makes you financially responsible for the costs of your care.
3. Take Detailed Notes About the Crash
Car accident scenes are hectic, and it is virtually impossible to take in all the important information at once. Taking notes after the crash can help you collect your thoughts and recall key aspects of the accident that may have seemed minor at the time.
As time goes on, the details of the accident will get fuzzy. Your recollection may be impacted by what you hear from other people. By taking detailed notes now, you can avoid losing sight of key facts that are relevant to your case.
4. Avoid Discussing (or Posting About) the Crash
While it is natural to want to talk about what happened, you need to avoid discussing the crash with anyone other than your attorney. The same is true of posting about the accident online, especially social media sites.
The insurance companies will be looking for anything they can use to deny your claim. Adjusters will not hesitate to use your coworkers’ testimony or your own social media activity against you. Keep the details between you and your lawyer, and let your lawyer do the talking on your behalf.
5. Document Your Costs Resulting from the Crash
In addition to documenting the crash itself, you also need to keep track of any and all of the costs you incur as a result of the accident. Be sure to keep records such as:
- Repair estimates and bills for your vehicle
- Medical records
- Medical bills and explanation of benefits statements
- Documentation from your employer (if you miss time from work)
- Letters you receive from any insurance companies
You should also get in the habit of documenting all of the various ways the crash impacts your day-to-day life. The easiest way to do this is to start a “pain journal” where you take notes on a daily basis.
6. Contact a North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a car crash, you do not want to try to handle the case on your own. There are too many challenges, and the stakes are too high. You will need an experienced North Carolina car crash attorney on your side, and you should contact a lawyer for help as soon as possible.
7. Be Patient
Finally, one of the keys to winning a car crash case is being patient. It will take time to build your claim, and your lawyer will need time to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. If you get anxious and settle your case too soon, you won’t receive nearly the full compensation you deserve.
You are not automatically entitled to compensation for your injuries after a car accident. Even if the other driver was 100% at fault for the crash, you are likely to face a number of challenges before reaching a favorable outcome.
One of the best decisions you can make after a car crash is seeking knowledgeable legal guidance. The Whitley Law Firm has extensive experience representing the victims of car accidents, obtaining significant verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients.
Please call the Whitley Law Firm at (919) 785-5000 today. It won’t cost anything to see if we can help. Our car accident lawyers serve clients in Raleigh, Kinston, New Bern, and throughout North Carolina.