Millions of people are hurt in car accidents across the U.S. In fact, the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) reports that 2.35 million become injured or disabled in accidents each year. If you are in a car accident, it’s important you keep a clear head and take some necessary steps to help ensure a successful personal injury claim.
Document the Scene of the Accident
After a car accident, it’s important to assess your medical situation and call law enforcement. In the case of minor accidents, it’s best to move both vehicles out of traffic. Then, if you or your passengers are able, record details of the scene by:
- Taking photos of the damage, as well as making notes that describe the scene and sequence of events
- Exchanging information with the other driver, including name, contact information, license plate number, insurance information, and driver’s license details
- Speaking with witnesses, writing down their version of events, and obtaining their contact information
- Giving a police report while the memories are still fresh
- Calling your insurance company and relaying a sequence of events, as well as any other information the agent requests
Get Medical Attention
Never refuse medical treatment. Even after a minor accident, you should seek medical attention from a paramedic, or go to the hospital. Some injuries won’t surface until your adrenaline levels have returned to normal—sometimes not until the next day or even a week later. However, an EMT, for example, can check for common accident injuries or tell you to seek further attention from a doctor.
A Few Don’ts
Being involved in an accident may leave you feeling dazed and confused, but it’s important you’re aware of a few things to avoid in the minutes, hours, days, and weeks following the accident, including:
- Apologizing to the other driver or implying you were at fault in any way
- Leaving the scene of the accident before police say it’s OK to do so
- Speaking with the other driver’s insurance adjusters
- Failing to attend follow-up doctor appointments
- Signing any documents, unless they’re for the police or your own insurance company
- Speculating about how the accident occurred—just stick to the facts
Call an Attorney
Because car accidents can become complicated, you might need a lawyer to advocate for you. At Duffy & Feemster, we can examine the details of your case and walk with you through the complete process. If you have questions and would like to speak with one of our attorneys, fill out the online contact form on our website.