What To Do After An Accident

Car Accident Lawyer

After a car accident, it is natural to be frightened and uncertain about what you should do next. Personal injury law provides some important protections for car accident victims. Your actions immediately after the accident can affect your ability to make the system work for you.

To protect your rights, consider this checklist of things to do after a car accident:

  • Get medical assistance for yourself and others involved in the crash.

Getting medical help is always the top priority. You should call 911 in the event that anyone was seriously hurt. Avoid moving people who have been injured so you don't worsen the injuries the collision may have caused.

It is important to have a thorough examination after an accident even if you do not think you were hurt. There are some serious medical conditions - including internal organ damage, internal bleeding and traumatic brain injury (TBI) - that may not cause outward symptoms right away. If you do not get treatment and have these injuries properly diagnosed, they could be life-threatening.

Injuries such as whiplash and TBI can also become worse and develop more serious symptoms over time. You want a record that the damage resulted from the motor vehicle collision so you can be fully compensated for all costs related to your injuries.

  • Contact law enforcement.

Contact the police so they can come to the scene of the accident, interview witnesses, review evidence and make an accident report. This accident report can be used as evidence in a car accident claim if there is a disagreement regarding how the accident occurred.

It is important to remember, though, that the police do not decide who has civil liability for a car crash. That is a job for the courts.

  • Obtain contact information from witnesses to the crash.

Witness statements may be used as evidence when making a car accident claim. If there is a dispute regarding who was at fault for a collision, you may need to provide evidence that the other driver did something wrong in order to obtain compensation for your injuries.

The statements of witnesses who back up your version of events can go a long way toward convincing an insurer to pay or convincing a jury to side with you.

  • Take pictures of the accident scene.

Accident debris, skid marks, the type of damage to the vehicles and the scene of the accident may provide important information about the cause of an accident. Taking pictures at the accident scene allows you to preserve this evidence and may provide further proof of the cause of the collision in the event of a dispute.

  • Notify your insurer about the accident.

Call your insurance company to report an accident in case you need to rely on your insurance policy to cover your losses. Some drivers who cause collisions are uninsured or don't have enough insurance to fully cover the injuries they cause. If this happens, you may turn to your own coverage to provide compensation through any uninsured or underinsured (UM / UIM) coverage you may have.

If you don't notify your insurer about the accident within a reasonable amount of time, your claim could be denied and you could be left without a means of paying medical bills and covering accident losses.

While you should tell your insurer that you were involved in a crash, you should not make a recorded or written statement about the accident without the advice of a qualified car accident lawyer. Also, don't sign anything an insurance company gives you without letting a lawyer review it first.

  • Contact a car accident attorney.

You can't count on insurance companies to do the right thing and pay as promised. Your own insurer and the insurer of the other driver are both concerned primarily about their profits rather than your health.

You could be pressured by an insurance company to accept less compensation than you deserve, or you could face tricks from the insurer to get you to admit fault so that you get no compensation at all. You need to be careful what you say to any insurance company representative. It's best to have an attorney negotiate your settlement and deal with the insurer on your behalf.

If no settlement agreement can be reached with the insurer responsible for the car accident damages, then you may need to seek compensation through a personal injury claim. There are many court rules to follow and many deadlines and procedural requirements associated with an injury claim. Your attorney will help you with every aspect of building a case and working to convince a judge or a jury to award you compensation.

Need help with a car accident claim? The lawyers at Underwood Law Offices are ready to help you recover the maximum compensation available to you under personal injury law.

To schedule a free and confidential consultation about the legal options available to you, call us now or use our online form.