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If you’re a cautious driver who follows the rules of the road, it’s likely you aren’t expecting to be in an accident any time soon. Most drivers don’t anticipate being involved in an accident on the road, but when it happens it’s important to know how you can protect yourself and what the next steps are. It’s important to know exactly what to do next when you’re involved in accident. Having someone in your corner who is familiar with the legal proceedings that may follow can be extremely helpful.

Why do I need a Car Accident Attorney?

A car accident attorney can serve as a helpful resource after an accident. Below are some ways that your attorney can help guide you through the accident claim process.

Sift Through Your Documentation

If at all possible, be sure to document the accident by taking pictures from multiple angles. If traffic is still whizzing by, try taking pictures from the side of the road to be safe. Most importantly, if you and/or those with you have been injured, be sure to take pictures of the injuries.

Photographic evidence is important, as it can help an accident attorney put the pieces of an incident together so that he or she can properly investigate the damages and injuries that occurred. If you’re involved in a minor accident, the police may not send an investigator, so your documentation will be the only resource that your attorney can rely on. Once you find the right attorney for you, be sure to provide him or her with all available documentation of the accident, damages and injuries that you sustained.

Many states require that you also report accidents to the Department of Motor Vehicles. For example, the Colorado statutes outline when a report must be filed and how long you may take before filing a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit. Keep in mind, a failure to report an accident in a timely manner may affect your ability to recover money in a lawsuit.

Serve as a Precautionary Resource

Since you have a limited time frame to file a lawsuit to recover medical bills, lost wages and punitive damages, you should see your doctor as soon as possible – even if you don’t feel like you sustained any noticeable injuries. After all, some injuries may manifest at a later date.

If you sustained any immediate injuries as a result of your accident and believe that you were not at fault, it’s important to hire an attorney to help you make your case. An attorney can help determine who was at fault in the accident, if the other driver was exhibiting reckless behavior, or if the other driver intentionally caused the accident.

It’s also important to retain an attorney, especially in the event that injuries manifest themselves at a later date. This also applies to more serious cases, in which a loved one may have died due to an accident. It is important to retain a wrongful death attorney immediately after the accident to help you deal with insurance companies, hospitals and the stress of your loved one’s death.

Get Help Navigating the Terrain

In the event of an accident, it is likely that the insurance companies of all involved parties will have their own attorneys involved in the process. Even if you sustain little-to-no injuries during an accident, an attorney can be helpful in navigating any intricacies in communication that may need to occur.

Remember: Being a cautious and attentive driver does not a guarantee that you’ll never be involved in an automobile accident. If you are involved in an accident, it’s important to protect your financial interests by following the steps above, and finding an attorney who can help you navigate the sometimes tricky terrain that follows an accident.