Car accidents are a traumatic event but sometimes they are not in your control to prevent. Even if you follow all the traffic rules and take all the precautions, there is a chance that you may be involved in one. This may be due to the fault of some other driver. What do you do in such cases?
While your first task is to obviously ensure the physical well-being of your fellow passengers and yourself, you better check up on your local legal options too. If you are in Joliet, for instance, take a moment to search for a joliet car accident attorney and find out the next steps. This will ensure you are adequately compensated.
In this post, we shall cover some of the most common issues that need your attention in a case relating to car accidents. Let’s get started.
Do All Car Accident Cases Go To Court?
The short and sweet answer to this is No. As soon as you hire an attorney and he has assessed the matter, the first step is to contact the other driver who according to you was responsible for the accident. If he and his insurance provider are able to come to a settlement with your lawyer, then the case need not go to court.
However, there are situations when a car accident does indeed go to court. These include:
- There is a disagreement between your lawyer and the other driver’s insurance company w.r.t the claim amount.
- There is a dispute between the parties as to who was the person at fault.
Within How Much Time Do You Need To File A Suit?
The next question that comes to your mind is how much time do you have to file a legal claim in a court of law.
First, you need to understand what kind of damage it is that you are filing a suit for.
Assuming that you suffered bodily damage and your lawsuit will be for personal injury, then you need to look up the statute of limitations applicable to your state. For instance, if you are in Illinois, then you have a period of 2 years from the date of the car accident to file a lawsuit for personal injury. The same period goes up to 5 years if you want to claim property damage.
It is important to remember that the statute of limitation varies from state to state. Your attorney will be able to help you with this.
Should You Always Call The Police?
This is a question that has always bogged people. What if you are involved in a car accident and the other driver is cooperating with you? Do you still call the police?
While a lawyer is the best person to advise on a specific situation, generally speaking, it is always a good idea to call the police. This is so even if you are not involved in a major accident or there is no altercation with the other driver.
The reason behind this is that once the police enter the scene, a whole trail of documentary evidence is created which can be helpful in the event that the parties cannot reach an understanding with regard to compensation.
Other Practical Steps That You Must Take
Apart from consulting your attorney, here are a few simple yet practical steps that you can take immediately after providing for your fellow passengers:
- Take as much information about the other driver as you can. This includes his name, address and vehicle registration number.
- Talk to other people who are around who have witnessed the accident. Take their name and contact details so that they can be contacted by the police or your lawyer in case the accident claim goes to a court of law.
- Once you are calm, take out your phone and take as many pictures as you can of the accident scene, including damage to your car as well as personal injuries. You must make sure not to tamper with any part of the accident scene. This will help you document the damage suffered by you, your fellow passengers (in some cases, third parties too) and the car.