If you are planning a road trip next year, it’s important to know how to keep yourself and your passengers safe. According to this report from NBCNews, the number of road fatalities has risen sharply since the start of the pandemic. This year saw an uptick of about 22% with many accidents being blamed on risky driving.
No matter how experienced you are as a motorist, you are still at the mercy of drivers who disregard common sense and safety. Your best option is to determine the next steps you will need to take on the road to a full recovery. Whether you are the victim of drunk driving or road rage, here’s a guide to help you overcome the aftermath of a road accident and demand justice.
1. Seek medical help
The amount of compensation you will receive later on will depend on the severity of the injuries you suffered during and in the aftermath of the accident. Immediate and major wounds, especially those requiring amputation, could help you secure larger compensation.
However, other injuries may take time to manifest, often occurring days or weeks after the accident. Symptoms like muscle stiffness, neck pain, and headaches could be delayed due to the adrenaline rush you had during the accident, so it’s important to visit your doctor regularly as you recover.
Frequent checkups can reveal symptoms and other conditions caused directly by accident. Let your doctor know if you are feeling any discomfort or any amount of pain that may require an extended hospital stay or corrective surgery. Identifying these symptoms can help you avoid any complications and reinforce your car accident claim.
2. Keep your mental health in check
Car accidents not only cause physical damage but can lead to long-term psychological trauma that could affect a victim’s overall well-being. With this in mind, you will need to know how you can cope with the trauma that comes after the accident.
You will have to seek professional help from a therapist who can help you heal emotionally and move on from the event. It can take a long time depending on the severity of the accident, but a licensed professional can use the right tools and approaches to guide you toward a full recovery. In some cases, they may also prescribe rehabilitative treatment if the accident left a severe emotional scar on you.
Other than enlisting psychiatric support, you can also reach out to friends and family members who can provide you with companionship and emotional support. Their help is crucial, especially if the accident led to the death of someone you knew and loved.
3. Gather enough evidence
As you recover physically and emotionally, you must also look towards recovering financially. An accident can cause you days or even months of lost income. Since you are out of work and you have hospital bills to shoulder, you will need to file a claim against the other party and their insurer. Car accident insurance includes medical payments and collision coverage for repairing and replacing your vehicle.
However, not many insurance companies are generous in approving car accident claims. Some may go as far as undervaluing the damages and injuries sustained by the victims in a bid to reduce their payouts. To make sure you get compensated for the full extent of injuries and damages you suffered, you will need to gather as much evidence on the ground as you can.
Following the accident, take pictures of the scene and interview any witnesses you can find. While not required, a police report detailing the accident can add credibility to your claim. Taking the time to present such evidence can help your case and, more importantly, hold the other party liable.
4. Know the timing of your case
As with filing any other complaint, a car accident claim is subject to a time limit governing the state where the accident happened. This provides a set number of years (from the date of the accident) in which you can file your claim or launch a lawsuit against the other party. When this time limit lapses, you waive your right to pursue legal action.
Known as the statute of limitations, this time limit varies from state to state. In Indiana, for instance, victims have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. While this provides you with enough time to gather evidence and investigate the accident, you still need to move fast since anything can happen leading up to the day you file your claim. Witnesses could lose track of what happened and the scene of the accident could be altered by the elements. If you were involved in a car accident, you should contact a car accident attorney who can start building a solid case.
5. Choose an experienced legal professional
Your full recovery will depend for the most part on the type of legal representation you have. A car accident lawyer can help you collect evidence and process the documents you will need to file your claim. If the other party agrees to start settlement proceedings, your lawyer can face the other party at the negotiating table and advocate for your interests.
In case the settlement process is going nowhere after six months, you could take the case to court. However, your lawyer may advise against this option if the potential gains are fewer compared to the risks and disadvantages. While a trial could compensate you far and beyond your initial claim, it will take a long time for a judgment to be handed down. It’s important to work closely with your lawyer as they help you navigate your claim for the best outcome.
Recovering from a car accident can be stressful and costly. By following these tips, you can leave the hospital feeling hopeful for the future.