Injured in a Car Accident? What to Do Next
Car accidents are stressful and oftentimes traumatic situations that can dramatically impact one’s health. Physical injuries only add additional stress and trauma, which impact one’s decision-making skills. It is important to know ahead of time what to do if you have been injured in a car accident. If you have been very recently injured in a car accident, this article may be helpful to guiding you on what to do next.
On the Scene
There are certain steps you should take if you have just been in a car accident. You should take these if you believe that you are injured. The first step you should take if you have been injured in a car accident is to call (9-1-1).
If you have assessed your own injuries you can decide whether it is safe to leave your vehicle. If you are traveling with passengers, first determine if they are also safe. Then you can safely determine if any other drivers involved in the accident are injured. If possible, obtain the information from any other drivers involved in the car accident. If there are witnesses, their information can be very important for your case. Specifically, be sure to exchange the following information:
- Name, address, and phone numbers of all drivers.
- Name, address, and phone numbers of all passengers or witnesses.
- Driver’s license numbers and license plate numbers.
- Insurance companies of all drivers involved.
- Registered owners of all cars.
- Year, make, and model of all cars involved.
While you are on the scene, take photos or videos to document any damage to your vehicle and any injuries. This documentation can be useful later when filing an insurance claim or if you need to litigate any issues in court. If police arrive, make sure to record the information of the law enforcement officer and follow up to obtain a copy of the police report.
Do not discuss the car accident with anyone else but the police. Do not admit fault, and do not accuse others for being at fault. If time and the accident conditions permit this, take notes about your perception of what happened. Even if it is sending a text to yourself or writing a note in a Notes application on your mobile phone. Having this documentation can be crucial.
After the Incident: First 24 Hours
After leaving the scene of the accident, there are several steps you will want to take in the subsequent 24 hours.
First, you should assess whether your injuries require an immediate visit to the ER, Urgent Care, or your primary physician (but do not wait more than 72 hours to see a medical professional). You can read more about common injuries suffered in car accidents here.
Some injuries in a car accident are immediately obvious. But, delayed injuries, or injuries that are only noticeable after some time has passed, are important to keep in the back of your mind. Refer to the blog post, Delayed Injuries to Look Out for After a Car Accident. This has useful information about different types of delayed injuries. Do not skip going to the doctor, even if you feel “fine” immediately after the accident. Because delayed injures are most commonly internal injuries, you definitely should advocate for your health. Advocate for yourself by requesting the necessary x-rays, MRIs, scans, and other tests to rule out any potentially fatal injuries.
After the Incident: Within 72 Hours
You should contact an attorney to see what your options are. Many attorneys offer a free brief consultation to assess your case and present you with what options are strategies may be beneficial to you. Some may offer general, but useful advice (like what kinds of paperwork to make sure to hold onto, or to upload any photos or videos of the accident or damage to the vehicle to a cloud storage, where it is less likely to be lost or corrupted).
Lastly, do not provide any statements to your insurance company – even your own. You may notify your insurance company that the accident occurred. But, you should tell them that you do not want to provide a statement until you have had the opportunity to speak with an attorney. At the end of the day, your insurance company is operating in the best interests of its stakeholders, which likely does not include you. An attorney, on the other hand, is paid to advocate for your interests.
Ongoing Practices and Care
Following a car accident, you will likely very abruptly have a lot to manage on your plate. It is easy to feel overwhelmed with all the tasks after a car accident. Including filing insurance claims, finding an attorney and figuring out vehicle transportation. Nonetheless, there are important practices to maintain in the weeks or months following the vehicular accident, depending on the severity of the injuries.
Additionally, something to consider adding into your everyday life is to keep a journal or notebook. This is used to detail your injuries, experiences, medical treatment, and expenses. This journal will help you recollect important events, experiences, symptoms, severity of pain, any missed time from work or out of pocket expenses for co-pays and prescriptions. This is especially important if you end up in court. The judicial process can take a very long time. It is difficult to remember details 2-3 years down the road. By taking 5-10 minutes a day to write down your experience in a journal, you will be able to recall details. These details will help your case and ability to have your insurance company compensate you for what you deserve easier.
The most important practice you can do in the weeks and months following a car accident is to make sure to follow through with any therapy and medical appointments. Although physical therapy can be time consuming and difficult, it is a necessary part of recovery after an injury. Failure to attend these medical appointments can be used against you. Similarly, failure to complete physical therapy may provide the insurance company with an argument that you were not as injured as you claim.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today
After any car accident, you should speak to an attorney who can help you navigate the complexities of your unique situation. If you have been injured in an auto accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. The attorneys at B|B Law Group have experience in litigation related to car accidents, personal injury, and more. They are ready to work with you to answer your questions. Contact the B|B Law Group to schedule a consultation today!
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