A car accident is always an unpleasant experience. At best. It can, of course, get a lot worse than unpleasant. But, there are steps you can take to make the aftermath of the accident as manageable as possible. So, just read this article, put it in the back of your mind, and hope that you never need to follow the steps outlined below.
After you hear that screech, crash of metal, and come to a stop, center yourself. You are not going to help anyone if you are in a panic. Then check yourself first. Can you see or feel any injuries? Next, check the other passengers in your vehicle. If they are all ok, and you can get out of the car, do so and see how the other driver is. If anyone seems hurt, call 911 right away.
If everyone seems ok, then it’s time to worry about your vehicle. Have a look and see what the damages are to both vehicles. It’s also a good idea to take pictures with your phone of the accident scene. In Newfoundland and Labrador, if vehicle damage looks extensive or anyone is injured, you need to report the accident to the police. What you don’t want to do now is get in an argument with the other driver over fault. It’s not your job, and it’s not the time or place. Just get a photo of the other driver’s license, registration number, and license plates. Then decide if your vehicle is driveable. If not, call a tow truck. But don’t forget, in our province you are required to report a car accident to the police within 24 hours of the accident if there is an injury or damage.
If you think that you may have sustained an injury from the crash, it becomes a different ballgame. If an ambulance is on its way, wait and discuss the next steps with the paramedics.
The next day. And beyond.
Does it seem like you have suffered any kind of personal injury from the accident? If the answer is yes, go and see your doctor as soon as you can. Many injuries seem minor at first but can get worse over time. Others simply don’t seem to heal at all. The most important thing you can do now is to see a professional and start finding out what is wrong, and what you need to do to heal.
After you have seen the doctor and had your injuries assessed, document as well as possible all pain you are experiencing. Also, keep track of everything you are doing to fix it. Start keeping a journal, and write it all down. It will help insurance adjusters understand what you are going through. Furthermore, if you should have to seek a settlement through the legal system, a detailed journal of your pain and injuries is powerful proof of the legitimacies of your claim.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, all vehicles are required to carry a minimum of $200,000 of third-party liability. Anyone who has been injured by an at-fault driver has the right to sue that driver for additional costs and damages that are not covered by that driver’s accident benefits. It’s important to note that, in our province, you must notify your insurer within 120 days of the accident if you intend to bring an action against the at-fault driver.
When do you need to sue?
If it appears that the other driver’s insurance will not cover the pain and suffering you are experiencing, you will probably have to bring an action against them to recover the excess damages. For that, you WILL need a lawyer. Look for a firm that specializes in this area of law. You also want to find a lawyer you feel like you can trust, are knowledgeable and can spend time with. A lawsuit – particularly a personal injury lawsuit – is a journey into the unknown for most people. Find yourself an experienced guide, and it will be a lot easier.
Then lastly, settle in and be patient. This is a complex and thorough process. It will take time. But the more patient you are, and the more you focus on recovering from your injuries, the better the outcome will be for you.
Have you suffered a personal injury, and think you may need a lawyer? You are welcome to talk with us. Roebothan McKay Marshall are specialists in personal injury law. We have guided many people through this process, to fair and successful settlements or court awards. Please give us a call to set up an appointment.