Rear-end collisions are common in the United States, resulting in 1.7 million car accidents, 500,000 injuries, and 1,700 deaths each year. If you are in one of these collisions, you can suffer serious physical, financial, and emotional harm — and under Arizona law, the at-fault driver must pay for these damages, either in the form of an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
The steps you take immediately after your accident will influence your eligibility for a claim and your chances of recovering compensation at all. If you are in a rear-end collision in Prescott, take the following steps to preserve evidence and protect your best interests.
After a rear-end collision, you need a police report to validate your future claim and you need emergency medical services. Calling 911 immediately after your accident will bring both of these services to your location.
The police officer will ask you questions about the accident, and it is important to answer these questions as truthfully to the best of your ability; if you don’t know an answer, say that you do not know. Do not admit fault or make any statements about your injuries at this time. After the interview, ask for the officer’s information so you can find the report later.
If you can walk around the accident site without further injury or danger, collect as much evidence as possible. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and any injuries you sustain, as well as the damage to the other driver’s vehicle. You should also photograph the area around the accident.
Exchange information with the other driver, including insurance and contact details. If there are witnesses in the area, ask for their contact information. These individuals could provide valuable testimony in your future claim.
You should seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident, even if you do not feel any pain or notice any injuries. Shock may be numbing the pain, or you may have injuries you do not know about yet. Visiting a hospital will help you receive the care you need, as well as collect valuable records you can use to establish your need for compensation. Save all documents from your medical visits.
If you sustain serious injuries, you should seek medical treatment immediately — do not stop to take photographs or exchange information. Your attorney can collect evidence at a later time.
From negotiating with insurance companies to estimating the value of your settlement, handling a car accident claim alone can be overwhelming. You deserve time to rest and recover, not try to decipher legal jargon and navigate a new legal process. Hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle your claim can relieve some of this stress. Your attorney will use his or her resources to fully investigate your accident, and will apply his or her legal experience to build a compelling case for your damages.
Having an attorney represent your best interests will also help you avoid accepting a lower settlement offer than you need to recover. Remember to speak with your attorney before making any statements to the insurance company. If you have not done so already, contact a Prescott car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. You deserve recovery, and your lawyer will work tirelessly to help you obtain maximum possible compensation.