Being involved in a car accident is alarming for more than one reason. Not only have you suffered a traumatic event, but the aftermath of a car accident can be confusing. You are hurt, vulnerable, and trying to navigate your way through an often-complex insurance claim system with no clear direction. Insurance adjusters may seem friendly over that phone and act like they want to help, but are they really putting your best interests first?
At the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, Accident & Injury Lawyers, Ltd., the number one question we hear from victims of car accidents is, “what am I supposed to do now?” It is a fair question. There is no one guiding you through the process of filing an insurance claim, no one giving you advice on what to do if you’ve been hurt by a negligent driver, and no one looking out for you when the medical bills start rolling in, and you’ve missed work due to your injuries.
The attorneys with the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, Accident & Injury Lawyers, Ltd. want you to know that step one following a car accident in Rhode Island should be to contact an experienced car accident lawyer. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to guide you through the post-car accident process and help you get the full compensation you deserve for your injuries. You may not have all the answers after a car accident, and that’s okay. Turning to someone who can give you the legal advice you need is the most important step you can take. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Rhode Island, contact us by calling (401) 444-4444 for help.
Steps to Take Following a Car Accident
A car accident is a stressful event. From the moment you realize a collision is going to take place, the adrenaline starts to course through your veins. You are no doubt frightened and anxious and in pain; however, the next steps you take can make a significant impact on your health as well as the strength of your insurance claim or lawsuit. It is important to take a few calming breaths and try to clear your head. Next, try to follow these helpful suggestions:
- Call law enforcement or 911: If you or anyone else has been seriously injured, call for emergency services immediately. Your health and safety are the number one priority. Law enforcement can also secure the scene and make a report about the accident that may help you down the line.
- Collect contact information: Make sure to take down all the important information from the other driver, such as name, driver’s license information, car insurance information, and license plate numbers. It is also extremely helpful to gather the contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
- Document everything: If you are physically able, make sure you take pictures of the damage to the cars, debris from the accident, any skid marks that may be present, or damage to the surrounding area. Try to get as many different angles as you can.
- Report the accident: Drivers involved in an accident that results in injury or death, or causes damage to a vehicle that makes it incapable of normal and safe operation, must report the accident to the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles within 21 days.
- Contact your insurance provider: Give only the basic information about the accident to your insurance provider. Facts only.
- Avoid social media: Do not post about your accident or injuries on any social media platform.
- Contact an attorney: Getting an attorney on your side immediately is the best way to secure crucial evidence and negotiate a fair settlement for compensation.
Rhode Island Car Accident Laws
Drivers need to understand that Rhode Island is a “fault” car accident state. That means that the person who is at-fault for causing the accident bears the responsibility for any resulting damage. Living in an at-fault state gives drivers involved in serious car accidents a range of options for recovering compensation after an accident. A driver may pursue compensation in the following ways:
- Filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- Filing a claim with their own insurance company
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver
Many people assume they only need an attorney if they want to take the other driver to court. That is incorrect. An attorney can gather evidence to help strengthen your claim and negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company. Insurance companies may take advantage of the fact that you are in a vulnerable physical and financial situation. Having a lawyer working with you means you have the benefit of a strong negotiator who can work to get you the maximum compensation you deserve. In the event an insurance company doesn’t want to negotiate in good faith, an attorney can take the at-fault party to court.
Rhode Island is also considered a “pure comparative negligence” state. So, any driver has the ability to recover damages from an accident; however, their damages will be reduced according to their share of negligence in causing the accident. If you are in an accident and it is deemed you were 20 percent to blame for the crash, you are entitled to collect the total amount of damages calculated minus 20 percent. Even if a driver is found to be mostly at-fault for an accident, they can still recover damages. However, that driver or their insurance company is still on the hook for the other parties’ losses.
Find Out More About Your Rights Today
If you or someone you care about has been injured in a car accident, it is important to talk to an attorney about recovering financial compensation for your losses. A skilled attorney is a valuable asset that can help you get the damages you are entitled to. If you want more information about your legal options following a car accident in Rhode Island, give the legal team at the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, Accident & Injury Lawyers, Ltd. a call at (401) 444-4444. We want to help you get the compensation you deserve.