Why You Need an Auto Accident Attorney

Prioritize your safety, and call 911 for police assistance or file a report with the Department of Motor Vehicles. This will help preserve evidence and establish the facts of the accident.

Auto Accident Attorney Duluth will be your advocate, guiding you through the process and negotiating with deep-pocketed insurance companies. Attorneys are paid on a contingency fee basis, so they have an incentive to maximize your compensation.

  1. Gather Evidence

In most cases, a car accident attorney is needed to navigate the complexities of an insurance claim or lawsuit. To win a settlement, victims must prove two things: that someone else was at fault for the crash and how much the collision cost them (damages). To do this, lawyers require proof of injury and loss, such as medical bills and records, vehicle damage estimates from mechanics, and official documents like receipts and pay stubs.

If you’re able, start collecting evidence as soon as the accident happens. Ideally, this would include pictures of the crash scene, skid marks, and debris from both vehicles. Additionally, try to get the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the crash. Witness statements can be extremely valuable for car accident cases, especially if they shed light on the circumstances of the crash, such as right-of-way disputes or brake light usage. Often, insurance adjusters and fact finders find neutral witnesses who have no personal connection to either party to be the most credible.

Photographic evidence is also important in many car accident claims, as it allows attorneys to see the relative positions of the vehicles at the time of the crash. It’s also helpful for establishing weather and road conditions at the time of the crash. In addition to photos, try to write down your immediate thoughts about how the accident occurred, without admitting fault for anything. This can help you remember details later when it comes to describing the incident to your auto accident attorney.

Injuries are the most critical aspect of a successful accident claim, so it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a car crash. In addition to being essential for your health, medical records can provide invaluable evidence for a case. Lawyers might even engage expert auto evaluators and mechanics to establish the severity of your injuries, as well as any potential long-term effects or disabilities.

  1. Collect Witnesses’ Information

Witness statements help fill in the details of the accident. They can provide valuable information about the events that led to the crash, which helps determine liability. Witnesses’ accounts can also be corroborative of other evidence such as police reports, photos, and medical examinations. The best witnesses are often neutral and have no ties to either party involved in the crash. This is why it is so important to find and speak with witnesses as soon as possible after a collision. Witnesses can quickly forget key details or change their perspectives, so capturing their testimony early on is crucial.

It’s important to approach potential witnesses with tact and be careful not to put them on the defensive. They may be nervous or emotional after the accident, and they should feel free to express their emotions. Witnesses should be able to clearly and concisely describe what they saw, heard, felt, smelled, and experienced at the scene of the accident. Ideally, they will provide a written statement with measurable facts rather than opinions. Also, consistency is essential. If a witness tells the police one thing and then testifies in court that it was another, their credibility will be called into question and their testimony could be disregarded by the insurance company.

When speaking with potential witnesses, try to get their names and contact information as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to have them write down their account of the accident and sign it. This will give you a written record that can be submitted to your auto accident attorney as soon as you’re ready. It will be useful to have these statements in hand before talking to law enforcement officers, as they will likely want to interview them as well.

  1. Take Photos

Taking photos of the accident scene is a great way to provide proof and documentation for your case. It’s best to do this as soon as possible, before anyone tampers with the scene or removes any potential evidence. If you are unable to take photos because of injuries or are otherwise incapacitated, ask an eyewitness or bystander to do so on your behalf.

Whenever possible, try to take multiple pictures from different angles and distances to get a better idea of the extent of damage and the circumstances surrounding the crash. This will also help to make it easier for your car accident attorney to use them in court if necessary.

It’s important to document the vehicle damage from a close-up (about 5 feet away), medium distance (about 10 to 15 feet), and from far away (about 20 feet). You should also try to capture the condition of the road as well, such as any signs, pot holes, or other issues that may have contributed to the crash.

Remember to document any weather conditions that were present at the time of the crash as well, as this can often be blamed for contributing factors in accidents. It’s also a good idea to take photos of any nearby businesses that have security cameras, as they might have footage that is useful to your case as well.

If possible, take a few photos of the other vehicles involved in the crash as well. This will help your auto accident attorney determine whether or not there was negligence on the other driver’s part. Also, make sure to capture any visible injuries on yourself and any other passengers in your vehicle (if they’re willing). Finally, you should try to get photos of any other witnesses if possible.

  1. Get Medical Attention

It’s important to check yourself, your passengers and anyone else involved in the crash for injuries. Even if the accident seems minor, it’s worth seeing your doctor to be sure there are no serious or ongoing problems. This is not only for your health, but it can also support a claim for future damages such as loss of earnings and medical expenses.

While you are at the scene of the accident, it is helpful to get everyone’s contact information, including phone numbers and insurance information. Ensure you have the other driver’s name, address, driver’s license number and car insurance company details, and be sure to get a copy of their policy details too. You can also ask to see their license, but if they are unwilling or too far away, take a picture with your smartphone.

If you are able to talk with the other driver, keep your conversations as short as possible and stick to the facts. Try to avoid apologizing, assigning blame or saying you won’t file an insurance claim—these things can be used against you later.

Document everything that happens at the scene of the accident, from traffic and weather conditions to the layout of the road and nearby signs or signals. It’s also a good idea to make notes about the people at the scene and their reactions, including what they said.

If you decide to file an insurance claim or bring a lawsuit, a lawyer can help you understand your rights and how to best protect yourself. They can answer questions from the other driver’s insurance company on your behalf and ensure you don’t say anything that could come back to hurt your case later.

  1. Make the Call

After making sure everyone is safe and documenting the crash scene, reach out to an experienced car accident attorney. They will help you build a strong case to secure fair compensation for your medical bills, property damages, lost wages and pain and suffering. They will also explain the laws, regulations and precedents that may apply to your case and help you stay on track with all deadlines throughout the process.

It is important to understand that auto insurance companies may attempt to shift blame to you for the crash. You should not respond to calls from the insurers and refer them to your attorney instead. They have the experience and training to protect you from those who are looking to discredit your claim and avert any future financial repercussions from your injuries.

Most attorneys work on a contingency basis, so you do not have to worry about upfront fees. However, you should discuss the percentage of the settlement and how this is calculated before hiring an attorney. You should also ask how they will handle expenses associated with the lawsuit, as they are not always deducted from the final settlement.

In addition to discussing the details of your case, you should also discuss your own car insurance policy. Your lawyer will want to know if you have UIM (underinsured motorist coverage). This is crucial in the event that the at-fault driver did not carry sufficient insurance or their insurance does not cover all of your damages.

It is possible to represent yourself, but an auto accident attorney’s education and training put them in a superior position to get you more money than you could possibly expect to receive from an insurer on your own. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Thomas J. Henry Law for a free, no-obligation case evaluation with one of their experienced car accident lawyers.