Been Involved in an Auto Accident? How to Know if You Deserve Compensation
In the aftermath of an auto accident, you’re not always sure what the next step is. You could be dealing with personal injuries, a wrecked vehicle, insurance companies, and police reports – and still not sure if you’re entitled to any compensation from the other driver.
With nearly 2.5 million people injured every year on US roads, it’s an important question to ask and also to be prepared for the possibility that it may happen to you.
Who was at fault?
If the accident was the fault of the other driver, you have the right to receive compensation for any injuries you may have suffered, as well as for property loss or damage. Ideally, the other driver will carry the correct amount of insurance to cover any claims. Unfortunately, there is always the possibility that the other party has insufficient insurance – or none at all.
How do I know if the other driver is at fault?
Some situations indicate that the other driver could be at fault. Here are some common examples:
- Rear-end collisions: Generally, if the other driver has driven into the back of your vehicle, the accident is considered to be their fault.
- Running a red light or stop sign: If there are signs that you made attempts to maneuver and avoid the other driver after they disobeyed a traffic control device, it’s likely that they will be responsible.
- Driving under the influence: If the other driver is determined to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they are likely to be held responsible for your damages.
- Failure to yield: The rules of right-of-way apply in determining who is responsible for a collision. If you were driving in a legal manner, attempted to avoid the accident by taking evasive action or braking, and were hit, it’s likely to be determined that they were at fault in the accident.
What can I do to ensure that I am compensated?
One of the most important things you can do to help your attorney prove that you are entitled to compensation is to keep good records. This should begin at the scene of the accident. Make sure that you take care of the following, if you should be involved in a collision:
- Talk to witnesses, if there are any. Get names, numbers, and addresses – both mail and email. Ask if they have any photos or video of the accident: They may have a dash cam.
- Document everything you can about the other driver and their vehicle. Take photos of their license plate and car. Get their contact information and insurance information, and find out who owns the car they were driving.
- Make sure that the insurance information they give you has the name of the company and its contact information.
- Seek medical attention if advised. A shocking 65% of auto insurance injury claims involve neck injuries sustained in the collision. Don’t overlook being checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible.
- Keep copies of all medical bills, records, and police reports. Document all bills and invoices pertaining to your automobile repairs.
No one wants to deal with insurance companies – make the chore easier by having as much documentation as possible on hand. If the particulars of your accident indicate that the other party is at fault, it’s your right to pursue compensation by whatever means necessary.
Scott Distasio is the founder of the Distasio Law Firm, a personal injury firm in Tampa. His work reflects his belief that all law professionals should take their responsibility for outstanding service seriously. To see what legal wisdom he shares next follow @scottdistasio on Twitter.