What Steps Should I Take After a Car Accident?
Most car accidents happen so quickly that they leave victims feeling confused. The lucky ones who do not experience injuries or property damage can recover quickly, but those who suffer serious or catastrophic injuries live with the consequences forever. There are certain steps to take after a car crash that can make dealing with the aftermath less challenging. While you want to do the right thing, you should not put yourself in danger. Do the best you can to collect information about the accident, then contact one of our Delaware car accident lawyers.
Remain at the Scene
No matter the type of accident, all those involved must stop and remain at the scene. Those that do not can be charged with a hit-and-run, and doing so can lead to fines, license suspensions, and jail time. State police, local police departments, or 911 must be called if anyone is hurt or killed. The person calling should try to stay calm and remain on the line with the dispatcher until instructed to hang up.
While you have a duty to check on people at the scene, you should not do so at the risk of your own safety. It is only safe to check on other crash victims if you can safely reach their vehicle. If you are stuck in your vehicle, you should not extricate yourself because that could cause more injuries than you have already sustained.
If the accident is minor without significant damage or injury, police may only be necessary to help divert traffic. Otherwise, they will arrive at the location and make a report. It is a good idea to gather pertinent information before leaving the scene. This includes names and contact information from all parties, and either writing down or taking pictures of insurance cards, driver’s licenses, and license plate numbers. Taking pictures of the scene, noting the road and weather conditions, and speaking to witnesses can also help. Witness information can be used to corroborate your account of the accident. Our Delaware car accident lawyers will need to talk to the witnesses and obtain official accounts of the accident.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Immediate medical care is needed after a car accident, even if the victim feels that they have not been seriously hurt. Certain injuries are not immediately apparent but can be quite severe. This is also important because insurance companies check to see if anyone involved sought medical attention. Later claims could be denied if a victim did not do so. Therefore, keeping records of all medical treatment related to the crash is essential. Immediate medical attention allows you to show that you were hurt that day, and your doctor can testify that you have underlying injuries that will take weeks or even months to heal.
Once the medical issues have been addressed, it is essential to contact your insurance carrier as soon as possible. Certain companies have specified time limits for making no-fault claims. Determining fault at the scene is not always possible, so drivers should never volunteer information about this. When you call the insurance company to report the accident, do not tell them anything more than they need to know. The insurance company wants to save as much money as possible, and they can deny you coverage or claim that the accident was your fault.
Accident scenes can be chaotic, and those involved may not have a clear memory of what happened. Anything said could be used against someone later, so it is important not to sign any documents or agree to pay for anything. A lawyer for another driver or the entity that caused the accident could offer you a settlement hours after the crash. Contact us immediately for help.
Comparative Negligence Rule
Delaware follows the comparative negligence rule, meaning that as long as the plaintiff was no more than 50 percent liable for the accident, they will receive compensation for damages. However, if the plaintiff was found to be partially at-fault, their award will be reduced according to the percentage of fault. For example, if the plaintiff was found to be 30 percent liable for the accident, and the award was determined to be $10,000, the plaintiff would only receive $7,000.
Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
You can file a wrongful death lawsuit if someone was killed in the accident. Collect all the information about the death as you would after an injury. You have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Delaware, immediate family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. If there are no immediate family members, another family member or friend who was dependent on the deceased may file the suit.
Choosing a Car Accident Lawyer
Anyone who has been injured in a serious motor vehicle accident knows that beyond the emotional and physical trauma left behind, victims often experience a significant financial impact as well. The costs of doctors’ visits, hospitalizations, surgery, and physical therapy, combined with the loss of income if your injuries prevent you from working, can be devastating on a family’s finances. Personal injury lawsuits offer some form of financial compensation for these losses. Choosing the right car accident lawyer to take on your case can be confusing. To find the right one for you, look for a personal injury attorney:
- Who has extensive experience tackling complex car accident claims
- Who takes the time to explain your options and answer your questions
- Who works with a firm offering free initial case consultations
- Who is committed to achieving the best resolution possible for every client
- Who gathers all the information related to your case to prove your claim
- Who keeps you updated on the latest developments related to your case
- Who makes you feel at ease and shows they value your time
During your initial case review, you can expect to share the details of your accident with your lawyer. After considering your case, he or she will explain all the legal remedies available to you and offer their recommendation for moving forward.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Protect the Rights of Injured Car Accident Victims
Serious car accidents require experienced legal guidance, and we are here to help you. Contact one of our trusted Delaware car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC to protect your rights. Call us at 302-888-1221 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including Dover, Newark, and Middletown.