After a car accident, several factors can threaten your legal rights. It’s vital to protect those rights, especially if another driver is at fault; otherwise, you could be missing out on the legal compensation for injuries and damages you are entitled to. Contact Jeff GOULD Law, The Attorney in YOUR Corner, for a FREE CONSULTATION to discuss your rights, responsibilities, and options on how to deal with injury claims with your own / and the at-fault driver’s auto insurer.
Understanding and asserting your rights and meticulously documenting evidence after a car accident could be the difference between receiving ample compensation for your losses and being held responsible for them.
Here are 6 ways to protect your rights after a car accident.
- Call 911
No matter how minor the accident, the first step you take after ensuring all parties are safe should be to contact the police. In Arizona, it’s a requirement to involve the police in all accidents. If either vehicle is damaged, the police will file a report that can play a crucial role in future lawsuits or insurance claims.
When giving your statement to the police, be honest and include any details that may help your case. For example, if the accident was at night and the other driver failed to use headlights, this demonstrates that the other driver was negligent. Without an official report filed, any information could be disputed by the other at-fault driver regardless of whether or not it is true. Do not get caught in a “she said/he said ” dispute over the facts of loss that the at-fault driver and insurer will attempt to contest or place part of the blame and liability on you – even though you did nothing wrong.
- Don’t Admit Fault
When providing your statement, be honest but do not admit personal fault. Only a court of law can determine fault, and admitting it may complicate the process or even restrict your ability to receive fair compensation. You are never required to give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. They can talk to, and get a recorded statement from their own insured, and look at the police report – DO NOT give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. You are not required to, and it will only be used against you.
Answer questions truthfully and directly, but don’t speculate as to whether or not your actions could have led to anything specific. You can always decline to answer a question if you feel the matter needs further examination. Protect yourself and your rights by allowing the court of law to determine fault and not offering yourself as the at-fault party.
- Accept and Receive Prompt Medical Treatment
One significant way that Arizona car accident victims waive some of their rights is to deny immediate medical care. Any refusal of treatment can be used as evidence that your injuries were not severe. This can also be used to allege that your injuries were minor and made worse by waiting to seek treatment. Arizona is considered an “at-fault” state, (comparative negligence) meaning that whoever is responsible for causing the injuries is responsible for paying for the resulting bills.
In addition, take care to avoid actions that could be seen as harmful to someone that is injured. If your injuries are severe, limit movement until authorities arrive. If you have been diagnosed, avoid discussing or posting about activities that would lead to the incorrect assumption that your injuries aren’t limiting your day-to-day life.
- Document the Scene
This crucial aspect to protecting your rights can be easy to miss following the chaos of a crash. Be sure to gather and document evidence from the scene immediately if possible. Exchange important information with the individuals involved, such as driver’s licenses and proof of insurance.
If possible, use your phone and camera to document witness statements, and take notes about any specifics that may be pertinent to an investigation. Most importantly, take pictures of all of the vehicles involved from all angles, including the damage that may have been inflicted. Detailed and tangible evidence to back any claims made in the future is key to ensuring you have the best chance at receiving maximum compensation.
- Review the Crash Report
In Arizona, you have the right to request a copy of the police report filed after an accident. If you see any factual inaccuracies documented, you can request to have them corrected and request that a written supplemental corrected summary be added to the investigative report moving forward.
Always review the police report to ensure that the responding officer was not confused about any details or failed to include important information that could help determine liability. By meticulously documenting the details of the accident when it happened, you have evidence that may help confirm the facts of the case.
- Work With an Experienced and Knowledgeable Lawyer
You have the right to hire a legal professional that can help document evidence, communicate with insurers, calculate damages and generally protect your rights and interests. An experienced and knowledgeable attorney should be one of your first calls after the accident.
There are many ways to protect your rights after a car accident, but there is no substitute for professional legal advice. Jeff GOULD Law, The Attorney in YOUR Corner, will make sure that your rights are protected, and your claim stays on track so that you are able to receive the maximum compensation that you are entitled to for your injuries and damages as the result of a car accident.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this blog/site is NOT, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. It is for general informational use only. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Further, this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.