5 Things Car Accident Victims Should Know | Car Accident Lawyers Near You
Car accident victims often feel confused after being in an accident. They don’t know what to do next, in part because of a lack of experience, and in part due to the shock and trauma that they suffered. It’s important that the injured party understands exactly what they’re doing next, as they’ll have to navigate a variety of laws and procedures to secure a favorable result.
So, what are the 5 things you must do when you get in an accident?
- Pull over safely and turn off your car
- Seek medical attention
- Collect information and evidence
- Talk to an attorney
- Be wary of insurance tactics
For a more detailed review of what to do in an accident, what you should know, and what to avoid after a car accident, keep reading! Immediately after an accident or crash, here are the steps to take to protect you:
Pull Over Safely and Turn Off Your Car
After a collision, pull over where it’s safest to do so and stay at the scene, if possible. Turn off your vehicle, but leave your flashers on. Try to stay as calm as possible, taking deep breaths to calm your mind and body.
Check yourself for injuries, and check others to see if anyone in your vehicle is hurt. That being said, if you’re not obviously injured, don’t assume that you are okay. Adrenaline from bodily shock can make you think you’re uninjured, even when you are hurt.
Seek Medical Attention
Call 911 emergency services as soon as you are able. If you believe that you’re severely injured, don’t move! Tell your passengers to do the same if they have also sustained injuries. EMTs will assess the situation and determine how to relocate you to the nearest hospital with as little additional trauma as possible.
Sometimes, people in car accidents can appear uninjured. This is because some injuries do not manifest right away, such as whiplash where the neck ligaments overextend. For example, it can take hours or days for whiplash symptoms to show up and become noticeable.
Getting treatment immediately after the accident ensures any injuries are properly treated to avoid unnecessary pain and related complications. Common car accident injuries in addition to whiplash include:
- Head trauma
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Back injuries
- Hip and leg injuries
- Broken bones
- Puncture wounds
- Burn injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
Medical treatment is also a way to document the accident. Document all the medical processes and keep copies of the medical report documentation. Without medical reports, filing a legal claim becomes challenging due to lacking injury evidence.
Collect Contact Information and Evidence
If you or any of your passengers are physically able, you should obtain the other driver’s contact information for insurance purposes. Be sure to stay safe while you exchange information. It’s important not to get heated, as tensions can run high, and hostility can undermine your ability to get what you need.
Taking pictures of injuries is worthwhile, too. If possible, you’ll want pictures of license plates, vehicles, the damage to each vehicle, and the overall scene. These can be used to clarify inconsistent narratives later on.
If there were any eyewitnesses, collect their contact information. The police on the scene also take witness statements and include them in the police report. Get a copy of that report, as well as the medical report from the EMTs and local hospital. Providing your insurance company with this information offers irrefutable proof of the accident.
If you and your passengers are unable to gather evidence, have a trusted friend or family member visit the accident site. You can also speak to the police officers on the scene to inquire about evidence gathering.
Never share your insurance coverage limits, bank information, or Social Security number with other parties at the crash scene. Do not discuss fault or the details of what happened with the other parties. Any statements you make can be used against you at a later date, so be very careful with what you share.
Above all, do NOT speak to your insurer or the other party’s insurer yet. Not until you first speak to an attorney. Insurance adjusters are always trying to undermine your claims so that they can reject or underpay you. If you speak to them without an attorney by your side, they will use that as an opportunity to identify weaknesses in your claim.
Talk to A Car Accident Attorney
Always speak with a car accident lawyer, even if you do not know whether you’ll be taking legal action against the other driver. Most car accident lawyers offer free consultations, which gives you an opportunity to evaluate whether there’s a potential claim. During this consultation, they will identify how your car accident injuries may give rise to a claim, and what sort of strategy might need to be followed.
Car accident lawyers have many important responsibilities. They will communicate with car insurance companies on your behalf, ensuring that the companies negotiate fairly. This not only maximizes your leverage, but also allows you to focus on healing. A victim of road accidents often makes the mistake of overburdening themselves with the work of the lawsuit. Instead, it’s better to just work with an attorney who can handle those burdens for you.
If taking legal action is necessary for any reason, your attorney will file the claim before the statute of limitations in your state ends. Statutes of limitations for personal injury claims vary by state, though most are one to two years from the date of the accident. In the rare instance that the legal claim cannot be settled, the case will go to trial and the attorney will continue to provide representation.
Be Wary of Insurance Company Tactics
Car accident victims often deal with insurers who deny legitimate claims, or underpay for claims. It can be extremely frustrating. Insurers often employ dirty tactics, like tricking accident victims into statements admitting partial fault, which are then used against them.
Be mindful of such tactics and do not communicate to insurers without consulting your attorney first. It is better to let a lawyer handle the insurance company, since they have experience with such dealings and will take steps to avoid undermining your claims.
Knowing what to do and what to avoid after a car accident makes the next steps significantly easier. Since focusing on your physical, emotional, and mental recovery is so important, allow an experienced lawyer to take care of all insurance and legal issues for you.
Seek Legal Representation Today
Were you injured in a car accident? If so, you deserve to be compensated for those injuries. Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney and to discuss your accident case today.