What Should I Do if I Am Injured in a Car Accident?
Emotions can run high at the scene of a crash, and if you’ve beeninjured in a car accident, it can be difficult to remember what you’re supposed to do—and what you’re not supposed to do. Take a look at this step-by-step list of the process, and contact the personal injury lawyers at Wettermark Keith to discuss your case!
WHAT TO DO IMMEDIATELY AFTER YOUR CAR ACCIDENT
If you’ve been seriously injured, it may be difficult for you to take action immediately after your accident. But if you can, you should do the following:
Step 1: Stay on the Scene
It’s important to remain at the scene of the accident as long as your injuries are not life-threatening and don’t require emergency medical attention. If you do leave, especially if someone else has been hurt, you could face serious penalties as a “hit-and-run” driver.
Step 2: Assess Medical Needs
Before you take inventory of property damage, check on everyone involved in the crash and get medical attention for anyone who need it. Do not move anyone who is unconscious or experiencing head or neck pain unless there is a hazard that requires you to do so.
Step 3: Contact the Police
Call the police and ask that a police report be filed regarding the accident. Be sure to get the names and badge numbers of the officers who respond to your call.
Step 4: Exchange Information
Obtain contact information, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance information from each driver involved in the accident. You should also try to get contact information from passengers, as well. Always be polite and cooperative during this process—but don’t apologize for anything at the scene. If you do, you could be unintentionally admitting fault, which could cause problems later on.
Step 5: Interview Witnesses
Get contact information for witnesses and ask them what they saw. Even if you plan to contact them later for a more detailed account, it’s good to go ahead and ask for the basics at the scene of the accident. They may forget important details as time passes.
Step 6: Take Pictures
Pictures can really help in evaluating property damage, personal injury, and more. If you can do this at the scene of the accident, do so. Pictures of the position of the cars, as well as medical conditions at the scene, may prove useful later on.
Step 7: Contact Your Insurance Company
When you call your insurance company, you should be cooperative and upfront with them about the circumstances of the accident. Explain things in a clear way and make sure you aren’t being dishonest about anything, which could result in major trouble—like denial of coverage for your claim. Get the police report from the crash and review it so that you understand all the details of the accident.
Step 8: Keep Track of Medical Treatment
Keep copies of all medical reports, references to other caregivers from providers, physicians you saw, prescriptions, and anything else related to your medical condition after the accident. Additionally, keep a record of how your injuries have affected your daily life (this is known as “pain and suffering” and is a little trickier to document than medical treatment). You should include days of work missed, activities you can no longer perform, and the effects of your injuries on your family life.
Step 9: Obtain a Property Damage Valuation
Get your insurance company’s damage valuation, and if you’re not satisfied with it, get a couple of independent repair estimates or quotes for replacement. Then, inform the adjustor of your results, and seek mediation if you cannot come to an agreement.
Step 10: Speak Cautiously
After the accident, do not discuss the crash with anyone except your lawyer, your insurance company, and the police. If someone from another insurance company calls you, do not talk to them about the accident unless your lawyer or insurer specifically asks you to. Otherwise, ask the representative from the other company to contact your lawyer or insurer to set up an interview, and inform your lawyer or insurer about the call. Don’t accept any settlement offers from anyone, either—you may miss out on a lot of compensation.
FOLLOWING UP ON YOUR CAR ACCIDENT
After you’ve left the scene, there are still things to do.
- Continue Seeking Medical Treatment: Serious injuries require serious medical attention. Get the care you need as soon as possible.
- Document Your Treatment: Record everything that happens, including all treatment that you need or will receive. This includes statements from your doctors.
- Get Accident Reports: Get as much official documentation from the police that you can about the accident, including an incident report at the least.
- Keep All Your Receipts: If you have an expense related to your accident, keep the receipts. This includes medical bills.
- Be Careful Talking to the Insurance Company: Be polite and give them your basic information, but don’t give them details of the accident unless you’ve spoken with an attorney. Their best interests aren’t the same as yours.
- Don’t Agree to a Settlement: You may even receive an early settlement offer. Don’t accept any agreement because chances are it’s much lower than what you can get or what you deserve. Again, talk to a lawyer first before you even entertain a discussion with an insurance company.
Injured in a Car Accident? Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer!
One of the best things you can do after you’ve been injured in a car accident is to hire a personal injury lawyer. They can ensure that your case is handled properly and that you receive all of the compensation you are entitled to.
At Wettermark Keith, we have the experience and the determination to help you get your life back on track by holding those responsible who have caused your suffering. Contact us today for more information or to set up a free consultation.
HERE'S WHAT TO DO NEXT
If you or a loved one have been injured and think you might have a case, call us now for a free consultation.