What to Do When You’ve Had an Accident and Want to Claim Compensation

afro american woman calling 911 in New york city. concept about car accidents and emergency

If you’ve been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault and left you with injuries, you may be entitled to compensation. But it’s not a simple or easy matter getting justice or a financial award — several steps and negotiations with different parties are involved. And your case could even end up in court as it goes to trial. 

This is what you should do if you ever suffer the misfortune of a personal injury accident, whether it happens on the road, at work, in a store or elsewhere:

1. Gather as Much Evidence as Possible

Evidence is vital to support a personal injury claim. Just because something happened to you that left you with injuries doesn’t give you the entitlement to make a claim if you can’t prove it and it’s only your word against someone else’s. So you need to collect as much evidence as you can at the outset, starting — if possible — at the scene where the accident happened. 

If you were involved in a car, bike, or motorcycle accident, get your phone and take photographs and videos of the vehicles involved from many angles. Do the same if your accident happened while you were at work, recording the aftermath and the surroundings. This will form the foundation of your compensation claim, supporting your case with insurance companies and up to and including the court. 

2. Call the Police

When you’re involved in an accident, it’s also important to call the police and get a police report about what happened. They may already be at the scene of an accident, like those that occur on the roads, whether they were passing or someone else called them. Failure to provide a police report as part of the supporting documentation for a claim could mean your case won’t succeed or you don’t get the settlement you’re entitled to. 

3. See a Doctor

Equally important when considering a personal injury claim is to get medical attention for what happened to you, even if it’s something relatively straightforward and non-life-threatening as cuts and scrapes. It’s vital to get treated and get a medical report from the doctor outlining your injuries. This may also give you a better idea of the level of compensation you might be awarded in your case. 

4. Talk to Witnesses

Were there other people at the scene of the accident that left you with injuries? For example, if it happened at work and several colleagues saw the accident, ask them if they will give you a witness statement to back up your case. Likewise, if other vehicles stopped when you had a road accident, can you approach the drivers and passengers for a statement? This will provide insurance companies and the courts with further proof that you were not at fault and did nothing to cause your injuries, thereby strengthening your claim. 

5. Hire the Best Personal Injury Lawyers

Filing for personal injury claims can be complex and difficult, including collecting all the proof required and knowing the local laws and the level of compensation for your particular type of injury. That’s why it’s often far better to hire top personal injury lawyers instead of trying to do it all yourself. They will help gather evidence and negotiate with insurance firms, and most don’t charge an upfront fee to get a case started. Instead, they work on a contingency fee basis, so they only get paid if they win the case for you. This means there’s no risk to you, and you stand the best chance of getting justice and a big financial payout for your accident. 

And above all, when you’re involved in an accident caused by someone else, never admit liability immediately — even if you suspect you might have been somewhat at fault — and never accept a financial settlement from the other party at the scene. It will almost certainly be much less than you would get with a personal injury claim.

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