We all hope for the best but a motor vehicle accident could happen any time we hit the road. Do you really know what to do if you’re involved in a car crash?
Roughly 2.35 million people are injured in some kind of a car accident every year. If you want to be certain you know what to do if you’re ever in a car accident, you need to read this article. If you’re already away from the scene, there are still some things you can do to strengthen your case. However, the scene of the motor vehicle accident itself is when you’ll collect the most evidence — and make the most important decisions.
Knowing how to behave on the scene, what to look for, and the actions you should take immediately afterward helps you to get the kind of settlement you deserve. Though no one enjoys thinking about being in an auto accident, being prepared before one ever happens is simply the right thing to do. Are you truly ready? After this post, you will be.
While on the Scene
If you’ve been in a car accident and are seriously injured, do not attempt to move. Instead, ask the people around you to take pictures of your injuries, your vehicle, and the other driver’s license plate number. If you are able to move, we suggest doing all of these things on your own as well as trying to collect statements and contact information from witnesses to the accident.
You’ll also need to call police officers to the scene in order to file an accident report. Be sure to get their badge numbers and the precinct they work in so you can get a copy of your case report. Above all, remember that you don’t have to admit to anything on the scene. It’s best not to get accusatory or even go into too much detail while you’re talking to police and the other driver. It’s incredibly easy for your words to get twisted around, and before you know it, you could be named responsible for the wreck.
Immediately After the Motor Vehicle Accident
So, you’ve been cleared to leave the scene (or, if your injuries are especially severe, you’re taken away in an ambulance.) Even if you don’t think not injured, and even if you feel fine, we strongly urge you to seek medical attention anyway. Remember that some injuries, like internal bleeding, are not visible from the outside. Additionally, you may experience delayed onset injuries (more on that later) that could have been prevented or managed if you’d sought help.
When you do go to the emergency room, make certain that you request copies of all your medical documentation, especially as it relates to potential diagnoses and bills. Next, get in contact with your car and health insurance companies. Remember that calls are taken in the order in which they arrive, not based on the severity of the damage/your injuries. The sooner you can contact them, the better — but know that now is not the time to accept any lowball offers they may make.
Look for Signs of Delayed Injury
Remember that some car accident injuries may take a while to appear.
If you experience headaches, pains in the neck and back, and feelings of numbness and tingling, you should see a medical professional right away. All of these symptoms are signs of whiplash.
In some cases, these symptoms — and the injuries they indicate — are much more severe. If you’re dealing with sudden swelling in the abdomen or sudden, extreme changes in personality, you should go to the emergency room.
You may have a brain injury or internal bleeding.
Meet with an Attorney
In some cases, depending on the severity of the motor vehicle accident, you may need to meet with an attorney. Not only can a lawyer help you to prove that you were not at fault for the accident, but they can also help you to file all the paperwork properly and within the required timeframe. Additionally, they’ll help you to maximize your compensation.
Remember, you’re not just entitled to payment for your medical treatment bills. You may eligible for compensation for lost time off work, long-term injuries, damage to your car, and pain and suffering. Having an attorney on your side will also make it much easier for you to communicate with any insurance companies that might dodge your calls or attempt to scare you into accepting a low offer. Finally, attorneys for car accidents may be able to settle your case out of court. This is the ideal situation for those too injured to participate in a lengthy trial process. It also guarantees that you walk away with at least something.
While we’d all love to be able to eliminate our risk for being in a motor vehicle accident entirely, that’s simply not possible. Instead, the best thing you can do for yourself is to refer back to this article every once in a while to refresh your memory on what to do after a car accident. Above all, keep your cool on the scene. Assaulting or threatening the other driver, even if they were the one responsible for the wreck, could compromise everything.
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