What To Do After A Car Accident
An Albuquerque car accident lawyer explains what to know
Car accidents happen all the time in New Mexico – on major highways, busy city streets and rural roads. A negligent driver can change the lives of crash victims in seconds. They are left with serious injuries and are unable to work. Medical expenses can add up quickly, and crash victims are often unsure how they will find a way to pay their bills.
Attorney Andras Szantho of Szantho Law Firm is a car accident lawyer in New Mexico who understands how an accident can impact your life. He also knows that holding negligent drivers accountable can be complicated. That’s why he focuses on building strong cases that insurance companies have to take seriously so his clients can recover the compensation they need and deserve.
Steps to take after a crash in New Mexico
Understandably, a lot of people aren’t sure what to do after they’ve been in a car accident. There are steps you can take soon after the crash that can help protect your health and your legal rights.
Call the police
If your crash seems minor, it may not seem necessary to call the police. But it’s a good idea to call them anyway. Police can secure the scene and ensure that anyone who is hurt gets the help they need. They will also fill out an official police accident report. This report will include valuable information that can help when you seek to recover compensation for your losses.
Seek immediate medical attention
Following a crash, you may think about declining medical assistance because you seem to feel OK. You may think you are just shaken up a little, and getting a medical exam may sound like it will take too much of your time. But there are some injuries, such as head trauma and damage to internal organs, that may not have any immediate symptoms. The last thing you want to do is leave a concussion, traumatic brain injury, or internal bleeding untreated. That’s why it’s in your best interests to get medical treatment as soon as possible. A doctor can also document your exam, which creates an official record of your injuries.
Ask for the names, addresses and phone numbers of the other people involved in your crash, including the other driver(s) and any witnesses. Don’t talk about the accident or argue about who is at fault. You can also record information about the other vehicle – including make, model number, color, and license plate number. Another thing that can help is to write down your account of how the crash happened, while your memory of it is still fresh.
Get pictures and/or video of the crash scene from many different angles. Take photos of the other car as well as the damage to all vehicles involved. Take photos of any property damage, skid marks, traffic signs or signals, road conditions, and landmarks. You can also take photos of any visible injuries that you have. The more visual evidence you have, the better.
Call your insurance company – but be careful
You do have to contact your insurance company to report the accident, but be careful. Stick to the facts of what happened and don’t say anything about fault. Keep your comments brief. Refer any further questions to your lawyer.
Contact a car accident attorney
It’s important to get trusted legal advice to learn about your legal rights and options. Maybe you don’t think the accident was that bad or wonder if you even have a case. A lawyer can review the details of your crash and give you the information you need to help you decide what to do next.
In New Mexico, the statute of limitations for taking legal action is generally three years from the date of your accident, though there are some exceptions. Three years might seem like plenty of time. But the longer you wait, the more likely it is that crucial evidence will be lost or destroyed, and the memories of witnesses will fade.
You can face many obstacles when trying to recover compensation for your accident-related expenses. Negligent drivers often deny doing anything wrong – even if they were speeding, texting, or driving drunk. Auto insurance companies try to pay crash victims as little as possible because they’re financially motivated to protect their own bottom line. They may question how serious your injuries are or try to place blame on you for what happened. Or they’ll make a lowball settlement offer that doesn’t even come close to covering your losses.
Should you talk to the insurance company after a car accident? It is not in your best interests. The insurance company for the other driver will try to get you to say something that can be used to justify paying you less. If you are contacted by an adjuster, politely decline to answer questions or give a statement. Then talk to a lawyer.
Experienced legal representation you can trust
Attorney Szantho doesn’t tolerate insurance company tactics designed to minimize your compensation and downplay the severity of your crash. He investigates what happened to get the facts. Our legal team gathers evidence, carefully reviews accident reports and medical records, and interviews witnesses. As needed, we consult accident reconstruction experts and other specialists.
Attorney Szantho will also determine the total damages you have suffered and demand the compensation you deserve. This often includes compensation for all current and future medical bills related to your injuries, lost wages if you couldn’t work, and other damages such as pain and suffering.
Many times, insurance companies will agree to negotiate a settlement. But we are not interested in making a quick deal to help the insurance company save money. If they won’t agree to a settlement that meets your needs, Attorney Szantho is prepared to fight for you in court.
Get the answers you need today
We know you have questions. Can I recover damages in a rear-end accident or head-on collision? What if it was a hit-and-run accident? What if the driver was uninsured or underinsured? How much compensation can I recover? We can answer your questions and discuss your options.
If you’re in Albuquerque or Santa Fe and you’ve been injured in a crash, our law firm can fight for every dollar you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced car accident lawyer.