Car accidents happen in the worst of times. Amidst the frustrations, it is typical for those involved in the accident to only want to get back to normal life. If you’ve sustained severe injuries in a car accident, the pressure to still provide for your family, seek medical treatment, and recover so you can get back to work can be overwhelming.
With so many worries in mind, it’s easy to forget the essential aspects of the accident that can help you to file a strong personal injury claim and get the full compensation you deserve. The last thing you want is to delay getting medical attention and filing a claim or rushing into seeking a settlement without knowing what steps to take.
Timing is of the essence when filing for car accident claims. Here’s what you should know:
When Is It Too Early?
Starting the claim process immediately after the accident, without collecting enough information about everything that transpired, is often ill-advised. Ideally, you need to have all the details about the accident sorted out. These include how and where the accident happened, the physical and psychological injuries you’ve sustained, evidence about who was at fault, witness statements, police records, and even medical records to support your claim.
If you happen to accept a settlement offer without having all the necessary information at hand, you might get an unfair amount and even miss out on compensation for damages that you may identify later on. You should, at least, take your time collecting the necessary information. Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer will help collect the necessary evidence before you go ahead and file a claim with the at-fault party or their insurance company.
Consulting your lawyer might also help you maneuver through tricky situations, such as being involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. They understand the protocol and can save you the time you would have spent guessing the right way forward. You can check out Hasner Law for insights on dealing with an uninsured driver.
When Is It Too Late?
Every state has a statute of limitations that specifies the amount of time you have to file a claim. Under the law, you have to stick to these limits. Otherwise, you can’t file a claim. Filing a claim after three years or more is too late. The earlier you can get started, the better.
If you’ve also admitted liability to the insurer representing the other party, you may also have forfeited your rights to getting fair compensation. Don’t sign any paperwork too, without consulting your lawyer to guide you on the right process.
Involve Medical Experts Immediately
The opinion of medical experts matters when it comes to getting fair compensation for your injuries. They can provide a detailed report of your injuries, the medical bills for your treatment, and the cost of care in the future. Ideally, the earlier you involve medical professionals in your case, the more evidence you have to support your case.
If you take too long, however, it might be tough to prove that a specific injury you have was indeed caused by the accident. The other party might argue against it, making it tough to prove your case. Medical professionals might also be vital when it comes to proving whiplash injuries. These are injuries that occur in the neck region after an accident, especially when your body is moved back and forth.
Identifying these injuries immediately after an accident is a challenge since your body is typically in shock. The pain typically kicks in later on. That’s why seeing a doctor for proper diagnosis and check-up on an on-going basis is vital. Contacting medical professionals early also offers you an easy-to-follow trail of your recovery process that can be documented to support your claim.
Medical Experts Will Help Identify Your MMI
Your MMI (maximum medical improvement) is the maximum level of health you are going to reach in the wake of your injuries. Understanding your MMI can be vital when deciding on whether to accept a claim or not. If you aren’t yet at your MMI, the chances are that you still need more medical attention to get there.
As such, you should only accept a settlement that will cater for your future healthcare needs. This should include medication, therapist appointments, and even physical therapy sessions. Identifying your MMI plays a huge role in determining the right time you can file a personal injury claim so you can get the best compensation possible.
Contact Witnesses Early
Witnesses have a vital role to play in the whole claim process. They provide concrete evidence of what transpired, as long as they can be considered viable witnesses. You can always get information such as who was at fault, how the drivers reacted, and even the type of weather conditions for the specific day.
Ensuring that you get their contact details is essential. In case you weren’t in a position to talk to any witnesses, you should talk to them as soon as you can before you forget details that could help track them down. Even worse, witnesses can also forget details about the accident. So, the earlier you can talk to them, the better. As time passes, they too can forget vital details.
For instance, the question of whether the road where the accident happened was in good condition or not could make or break your case. Getting the accounts of key witnesses early can help identify such minor details.
Gathering the Information Early Will Shorten Your Case
Accident-related lawsuits typically take a long time to settle. However, the more details both parties have about the accident, the easier it will be to settle the claim. This means that you should strive to collect as much information about the accident as you can, earliest as you can. Also, document all details you remember about the case, your treatment, and medical expenses. Keep copies of every critical document to share with your lawyer.
If you file a claim too early and without enough evidence, you won’t get the settlement you deserve. Waiting for too long, on the other hand, will eliminate the chance of filing a lawsuit or even having enough proof for the right settlement amount. The trick is to file a claim as soon as you have enough evidence to go on. Consider hiring a lawyer to help you collect the right evidence, build a strong case, and protect your rights.