After a major or minor car accident, you have many tasks to tend to. Knowing how to respond in the aftermath of a motor vehicle collision helps you build a case, file an insurance claim and protect your legal rights. No matter how safe a driver you are, you cannot account for other motorists and their driving behaviors. Get proactive about protecting your right to fair compensation and peace of mind.
After examining yourself for injuries, check on your passengers and all other parties involved in the accident. When checking on others, only proceed when safe to do so. You do not want to put yourself at unnecessary risk if a vehicle catches on fire. If anyone sustained harm, call the paramedics to the scene as quickly as possible. Should you feel unsure about calling 911, summon them to the scene to be on the safe side.
If you learn others sustained injuries, only provide the level of care you feel comfortable with. Attempting unfamiliar medical treatment may do more harm than good, so focus on keeping those injured as comfortable as possible until the paramedics arrive. It also makes sense not to move harmed individuals.
By checking yourself for injuries, you start a paper trail that proves you sought medical attention when you needed it. Insurance companies and at-fault parties may try to discredit your legal claim if you do not get medical care when you need it.
While waiting for 911 to arrive, have the police come out to the accident scene. A police report helps paint a picture of how the collision happened and who bears fault for the fallout. Even if no one got hurt, it still makes sense to call law enforcement, so you have a report for your insurance claim or legal case. If the other driver appears intoxicated or does not have insurance, prioritize calling the police for your protection and peace of mind.
If possible, take plenty of pictures of the accident scene for your insurance claim and as evidence if you have a legal case. Specifically, snap images of exterior and interior car damage, the make and model of the other vehicle, nearby street signs and signals, the weather, skid marks around the scene and the license plates of all other vehicles involved in the collision. Also, take images of your injuries, and have an easy way to authenticate the date you took the images.
Gather written or verbal statements from anyone who witnessed the accident. If witnesses feel comfortable, ask for their contact information in case you have follow-up questions. Consider gathering your statements and images in a special file to make everything easier to find.
Even if you do not notice injuries, have a doctor look you over. During a harrowing event like a car accident, your body floods your system with adrenaline, which masks injuries. You may have delayed injury symptoms you do not know about until a doctor informs you of them. By seeking immediate medical attention, you get the treatment you need.
Another reason to have a medical professional look you over even if you feel fine is so you have medical evidence for your insurance or legal claim. By waiting to let a physician examine you, you may give insurance providers the impression that you did not suffer serious injuries, which could jeopardize your claim.
If you have injuries, ask your physician to note you sustained them during a car accident. Sometimes, medical professionals only note the car accident victim’s injuries rather than the cause of injuries. Including this often-missing information may strengthen your legal claim.
Going beyond having a physician look you over, protect your right to compensation by following whatever orders your doctor gives. Particularly, pay close attention to actions you can and cannot do. For instance, perhaps you may only stand for a few minutes, or maybe you should not lift certain weights. You never know whether the insurance company may follow you to see if you follow your doctor’s orders. You also do not want to risk worsening your injuries and hampering your recovery.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company may ask you to sign a settlement offer or other documents. No matter how generous a settlement may seem, it may not account for everything you truly deserve. By signing a document, you could limit your right to fair compensation.
If another driver hit you recently, do not delay in protecting your rights. Learn more about those rights by contacting a representative from Fielding Law at 877-880-4090. You may also submit an online form.