When a person gets into a car accident, a lot of things can seem confusing at first. Most accidents happen in the blink of an eye and without any warning. While driving down the road, a collision with another vehicle may suddenly catapult you into chaos. As a result, you may feel disoriented and struggle to make sense of what just happened. What do you do next?
Believe it or not, you can take certain steps once after you’ve sustained injuries in a car accident and received an injury to help ensure that you protect your legal rights. You should consider retaining an attorney to help you pursue compensation for the full cost of your injuries if your accident resulted from someone else’s negligence.
You may require a legal expert to protect your rights as well as collect reimbursement for any medical expenses and damages that have occurred. If you don’t follow the proper legal procedure, then you may miss out on your right to compensation. Read on for more information on what to do following an accident that results in injury.
Steps To Take Immediately Following an Accident:
- Immediately following an accident, you should call law enforcement and make a report if physically able. This constitutes a vital step for many reasons.
For example, law enforcement will:
- Conduct a preliminary investigation.
- Interview all parties involved.
- Interview witnesses to the accident.
- Examine and protect the scene of the accident.
- Inspect the vehicles.
- Make an initial determination as to who bears liability for the accident.
- If any bystanders at the scene witnessed the accident, you should get their contact information if possible. Oftentimes, police reports do not list the witnesses with enough detail for the involved parties to contact the witnesses in the future. Police reports may only list witness names and include their initial statements. However, your lawyer will likely want to ask witnesses additional questions on your behalf. While waiting for the police to arrive, you should obtain all contact information from witnesses and any other drivers involved in the accident. This will help you establish the foundation for your legal case.
- Next, you should make absolutely sure that you seek immediate medical attention following your accident, regardless of whether you think that you only sustained minor injuries or no injuries at all. Seeking a medical evaluation following an accident constitutes a vital step in your accident claim. Many people will say “no” when an officer asks if they need an ambulance. This can sometimes hurt the injury case against the other driver. However, declining can negatively impact your claim and reduce the amount of compensation that you may receive as a result of your injuries.
Make sure to:
- Request an ambulance ride.
- When you get to the hospital, make sure that you get any scans that the doctor recommends. This may include an MRI, X-rays, and more. Following the accident, you will likely feel adrenaline pumping through your body, which can mask certain injuries. You won’t know what your body has gone through until you start exhibiting painful symptoms. Getting scans done immediately can show a lot of injuries right away before they become detrimental or life-threatening. For example, you may suffer from internal bleeding following a serious accident. Many accident victims don’t even know they have internal bleeding for several hours or days after the accident. Getting quick treatment will ensure the best chance of recovery.
- Give detailed explanations to your doctor if you have any pain or discomfort at all.
- Pay attention closely after the accident. Even if you’ve already visited a doctor, you may still experience different sensations later at home after you’ve had time to rest. You should report these sensations to your doctor. You should report anything at all, from migraines to numbness and tingling in any of your extremities, to your doctor immediately to establish a connection to the accident.
- Contact an injury lawyer. Make sure to do ample research in your area and contact a legal expert that has experience dealing with injuries after an accident. You should do this as soon as possible. An attorney can help talk to your insurance company as well as gather all of the facts involved. Sometimes, your insurance agency may work against you. Insurance companies focus on profits, not the well-being of accident victims. Having a lawyer to protect your interests will help to keep everything in perspective. Try not to give too much information to your insurance company right away. Wait until you have spoken to your lawyer first.
- Keep a ledger or diary of the accident, any medical treatment, the doctors that you see, plus any experiences that you have along the way that you believe could have resulted from the accident.
- You should follow through with every medical and physical therapy appointment during this time. If you fail to do so, the insurance companies and the lawyer for the other party may argue that you did not sustain injuries as serious as you claim or that your injuries stem from a subsequent event. You do not want to give the other driver any sort of leverage.
Mental And Emotional Injuries
Now you know what to do for the physical injuries, but what if you or the passengers in your vehicle have also experienced mental or emotional injuries? People, especially children, may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after an event such as a vehicle accident.
Did you know that you can collect damages for the mental and emotional stress that resulted from an accident? In severe cases of PTSD, a person can suffer anxiety, panic attacks, and physical manifestations of the disorder due to the traumatic event. These symptoms can significantly diminish a person’s quality of life.
You don’t know all of the ins and outs of the law and how it can impact the future of your case; you should retain an attorney to handle your claim. You want an attorney with knowledge and experience with cases similar to yours, including experience taking cases all the way to trial—and winning. You should seek out a detail-oriented lawyer who knows how to review police and medical reports as well as negotiate with insurance companies effectively. Contact an experienced accident attorney.