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Next Steps After an Accident

Jan. 31, 2022

Desperate man sitting asphalt on crashed car background, automobile accidentBeing involved in an accident can be difficult and unsettling. Due to the shock, many accident victims find themselves perplexed and unsure of how to seek compensation for their injuries. However, what you do after the accident can have a significant impact on the outcome of your injury claim. A skilled Missouri personal injury attorney can help you understand the next steps to take after an accident and guide you through the injury claims process.

At Johnson Law Firm, the members of our team have devoted their careers to assisting and representing accident victims in their personal injury cases. We will thoroughly review and investigate all of the facts surrounding your personal situation and explore your available legal options to seek damages. Ultimately, we will fight vigorously to protect your rights and attempt to recover the maximum possible compensation for your injuries. We're proud to serve clients throughout St. Joseph, Platte City, Savannah, and surrounding areas in both Missouri and Kansas.

Steps to Take After an Accident

After an accident, it is normal to be confused or even terrified. However, this isn't a time to panic. You need to remain as calm as possible and never allow your emotions to overcome you. Moreover, the steps you take—or fail to take—can significantly affect your ability to recover damages and the amount of compensation you can get. If you were involved in an accident, here's what you need to do:

Perform a Safety Check. Your safety and well-being should be your utmost priority. Carefully exit your car and get to safety. Also, help other passengers and drivers out of harm's way, if you can.

Seek Immediate Medical Help. Call 911 to get emergency medical treatment for your injuries and other victims. Seeking adequate medical attention from a qualified physician is essential for many reasons, among them:

  • For your overall health and well-being

  • To determine the magnitude of your injuries

  • To detect any hidden injuries that are yet to fully manifest

  • For proper documentation when filing your personal injury claim

  • To mitigate possible issues with the insurance company

Report to Police. Missouri law requires any individual involved in an accident that causes bodily injury, death, or property damage of more than $500 to immediately report the incident to the police.

Documentation. Obtain and document the following information and documents:

  • Relevant information about the other driver, such as the driver's name, phone number, address, insurance policy, license number, vehicle registration number, and insurance information

  • Police report

  • Witness statements and testimonies

  • Accident scene photos

  • Medical records, including medical reports, medical expenses, and doctor's appointments

  • A personal account of the incident and how it has affected your daily life

Notify Insurance. Inform your insurance carrier about the incident. Some insurance companies in Missouri need policyholders to notify them within a couple of days after the accident.

Hire an Attorney. Retain a skilled personal injury attorney to help file your injury claims, negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance providers involved, or file a personal injury lawsuit.

If you delay before taking the necessary steps, you may lose vital documents or forget important details. It is important that you act as soon as possible. A knowledgeable attorney can evaluate the facts of your case and help you avoid common mistakes.

Potential Pitfalls to Avoid

Here are some possible pitfalls to avoid when pursuing your injury claim:

Uninsured Driver. Filing a lawsuit against an uninsured at-fault driver is never advisable. Rather, you might be able to file an uninsured driver's claim with your own insurance provider.

Make Sure Medical Costs are Final. Only settle your injury claim when you have reached the Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). This is the stage where your health condition can't be improved any further. If you still need ongoing medical treatment, you should wait until you attain MMI or full recovery.

Consider All Accident-Related Costs. Before accepting the insurer's settlement offer, consult with your legal counsel. Your lawyer can evaluate all accident-related costs, including property damages, lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, and other potential damages.

Never Accept the First Settlement Offer. First settlement offers from the insurance companies are often lower than the true value of your injury claims. Do not be pressured into accepting. Your attorney can help you negotiate an improved offer or take additional legal action when required.

Statute of Limitations. In Missouri, the statute of limitations for civil cases, such as car accidents, wrongful death, and other personal injury cases, is usually two (2) years from the date of the accident or injury. Ensure that you file your injury claims within the 2-year statute of limitation.

Rely on the Experience of the Johnson Law Firm

Getting hurt in a negligent accident can be overwhelming. However, you're not alone. At Johnson Law Firm, our attorney and the rest of our team are poised and ready to help you hold those responsible for your injuries accountable. As your legal counsel, we can:

  • Fight compassionately to protect your rights and represent your best interests

  • Evaluate every detail of your case and conduct a comprehensive investigation

  • Gather relevant information, police reports, witness statements, and other required evidence

  • Seek to prove fault and establish liability

  • Determine the full magnitude of your injuries, losses, and estimate case-value

  • Help negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance companies involved

  • Take additional legal action, where necessary

Contact Johnson Law Firm today to schedule a simple case evaluation with our personal injury lawyer. We proudly serve clients across St. Joseph, Platte City, Savannah, and surrounding areas in both Missouri and Kansas.