Auto accidents happen all too often. Many drivers shrug off small accidents, not thinking that the resilient bumper cover is hiding the real damage. Worse yet is when the driver suddenly feels pain two days after the accident and doesn’t know what to do.
Car accidents can result in serious injuries, but what do you need to do after?
This guide explains the steps to take if you are injured in a car accident.
Keep cool and stay at the scene. Call the police for the sake of the record, which you’ll need later.
Take pictures right after the accident. Photograph injuries, cars, damage, surrounding area, tire marks, pavement conditions, weather, etc. These pictures will aid in the event’s reconstruction and the estimated value of the damage.
See to the Safety of Others
You’ll want to see to the safety of others. If you are able to give aid, then consider doing so. If you are injured, wait for someone to see to your safety.
If you are able, connect with the other drivers. Take pictures of their driver’s license, insurance information, and car registration. Do not admit fault or accuse others at this time.
Anything you say will be used against you. For instance, saying you’re not injured makes your sudden pain two days later sound skeptical at best.
First responders assist and document the scene. You’ll need copies of their documents. Write down what happened before your memory or the comments of others alter the facts.
Document statements made by others. Make sure your notes include the direction of traffic and where each car headed.
Seek Medical Attention
If you sustain a car accident injury or feel pain, seek medical treatment. If you are not taken by ambulance to the ER, get yourself to an urgent care facility. You might feel okay, but you won’t know until your body snaps out of its fight or flight mode.
Retain a Lawyer
You’ll want to find a lawyer before the other driver’s insurance company calls to “see how you’re doing.” Everything you say will be used against your case.
Lawyers know the statute of limitations for personal injury claims. They know how long it will take to resolve your case. Lawyers even know how to find the root cause of the accident and others who share liability, should suing for a car accident be necessary.
Inform Your Insurance Company
Notify your insurance company. They will send a car accident claim adjuster to review your car. Do not let them influence your car accident settlement.
Have your lawyer submit all necessary medical records to the insurance company. Do not sign the insurance company’s medical release form, or they will have access to all your medical history. Remember, you’re protected by HIPPA laws.
Keep Your Lawyer Current
Empower your car accident lawyer to speak on your behalf to insurance companies. Keep your lawyer informed of all medical providers, therapists, and hospitals/urgent care centers that treat you. Provide your lawyer documentation of your treatment dates with a description of what transpired.
Also, provide documentation on medications and medical receipts.
Don’t Miss Appointments
Do not miss medical appointments. Do not exaggerate or minimize your symptoms. Keep your doctor informed of all symptoms.
The insurance adjuster will review your medical records to find inconsistencies. This can be leveraged to discredit your situation and reduce your car accident settlement.
You need to prove fault (it not being yours) and damages. Accurate records are the easiest way to prove both. The following records are a must:
- Police report
- Scene photos (including injuries and damages)
- Medical records
- Professional damage assessments
- Receipts for repairs
- Proof of auto value
- Proof of income
- Records of missed work
- Cell phone records of the distracted driver
Know What to Do When Injured in a Car Accident
When injured in a car accident, make sure you seek medical attention. Call the police, take pictures, contact your insurance company, and collect all forms of documentation. These things will help build your case and put you on a path to a healthy recovery.
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