Next Steps After an Accident
July 29, 2020
Being involved in an accident can be a devastating and painful experience. According to the Tennessee Traffic Crash report, about 489,702 people were involved in traffic accidents in 2019, claiming 1,162 lives. If you were involved or hurt in an accident caused by another party's negligence, you may have the right to compensation for your injuries.
At the Law Office of Joshua S. Reed, we can provide guidance and make sure you know your options about accident claims and the next steps to take after an accident. We can fight diligently to protect your rights and negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. We are proud to represent personal injury victims in Knoxville and Farragut, Tennessee.
Steps to Take After an Accident
The steps you take after being involved in an accident can affect the outcome of your claim. Where possible, it’s important that you:
Stop and Check on Others: Make sure everyone involved in the accident is safe and out of harm’s way. Not stopping and following through with the proper procedures following an accident could be viewed as a hit and run.
Seek Adequate Medical Care: Call 911 for injuries to yourself or others. Even if you don’t feel injured right away, it’s still important to seek medical care from your doctor or emergency room. Oftentimes, a victim is in shock and doesn’t feel the full extent of their injuries until a later time. It’s always best to let a medical professional determine your condition.
Call Law Enforcement: Tennessee Code Section 55-10-106 requires that accidents that involve personal injury, death, or property damage in excess of $50 be reported immediately to the local law enforcement or state highway patrol. Additionally, Tennessee Code Section 55-10-107 mandates that accidents involving personal injury, death, and property damage in excess of $400 be reported to the Tennessee Department of Safety within twenty days.
Exchange Pertinent Information: Under Tennessee Code Section 55-1102 drivers who have been in a reportable accident must provide proof of financial security such as adequate car insurance, a surety bond, or cash sufficient to cover the damages sustained in the accident. Failure to comply with this requirement can result in your driver’s license and vehicle registration being revoked.
Collect Necessary Documentation: It’s important to obtain copies of all relevant documentation including the other driver's information, police report, accident scene photos, and witness statements. Also, you should document your own account of what occurred, medical expenses, medical treatments, and doctor's appointments.
Notify Insurance: Notify your insurance company or provider about the accident. Some companies require notification within a few days of the accident occurring.
Hire an Attorney: Retain a knowledgeable accident attorney to help you file personal injury claims or negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company.
Once a personal injury claim has been filed, there are several mistakes that can occur that could affect the amount of compensation you are able to recover. Here are the potential pitfalls that you should avoid in personal injury claims:
Accidents with Uninsured Drivers
Suing an uninsured at-fault driver is a challenging process. Filing an uninsured driver's claims with your insurance company may be a better way to proceed, but if you aren’t being treated fairly by your own insurance carrier, you may still need an attorney to file a lawsuit in order to be fully compensated.
Consider All Costs
Before accepting a settlement offer, let an attorney help you assess all the costs that resulted from the accident including lost time at work and incidental damages.
Make Sure Medical Costs are Final
Oftentimes, accident victims are quick to accept the insurance company’s settlement before their medical costs are final. You may require ongoing treatment for sustained injuries or have complications that take a while to appear. Additionally, you may not even realize that your health insurance company expects to be reimbursed for what they have paid on your behalf.
Don’t Accept the First Settlement Offer
Insurance providers generally offer a low initial settlement. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you to pursue fair compensation.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is crucial to protecting your rights and helping in pursuing fair compensation for your injuries. At the Law Office of Joshua S. Reed, we are experienced and knowledgeable in the nuances of Tennessee personal injury law. I can help you:
Fight to protect your rights and represent your interests
Provide a comprehensive case review and conduct a thorough investigation
Collect all necessary pieces of evidence and documentation
Prove and establish fault and liability
Determine and estimate case-value
Negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company
File a personal injury lawsuit, where appropriate
If you were injured in an accident caused by a negligent party, you may be entitled to recover compensation. Call the Law Office of Joshua S. Reed today to schedule a one-on-one case assessment.