In the aftermath of a car accident, there are many things to worry about and actions to take, at a time when you are probably shaken up and not thinking very clearly. The first thing to do is check to yourself and others for injuries, and the first calls you make should likely to be to 911 and then to the police.
You and the other driver should exchange insurance information, and your insurance company will want you to notify them of the accident -- but wait. Should that be your next call, or should you phone an attorney first?
Why you need an attorney
If the accident was not your fault, the other driver may try to pressure you into settling without filing a claim, or if you do report the accident, the other driver's insurance company may call you and try to lowball a settlement. Keep in mind that big insurance companies have teams of experienced attorneys. If you sustained injuries, you should have your own personal injury attorney who can level the playing field and negotiate with the opposing legal team on your behalf.
Managing a disputed claim
When the other driver reports the accident, the high-powered insurance company lawyers may try to dispute liability for their policyholder. They may say you do not have enough proof for your claim against their insurance company, thus your claim is denied. However, your attorney will have investigated the accident scene and studied the police report along with any notes you may have made about the accident. You and your attorney can work together to present the proof you need.
Medical bills and more
If your injuries turn out to be more serious than you originally thought, it may take you a while to recover. You are going to be facing medical bills, possibly lost wages -- and what about the costs involved with pain and suffering? You need an advocate, someone on your side. In other words, you need the services of an attorney who will stand up for your rights and work diligently to obtain the fair and just compensation you deserve.