As the winter weather is in full swing it is important to be as careful as we can on the roads, but sometimes no matter how careful we are, accidents happen. Being in a car or pedestrian accident is no small ordeal. An accident can be traumatizing, and life changing on its own, but add in dealing with insurance adjusters, other parties, and attempts to get your damages recovered, accidents can add a tremendous amount of stress to your life. All cases are different, but as a general matter, there are often certain steps you can take immediately after an accident that will strengthen your claim, help ensure your recovery, and thereby reduce such stress.
Immediately after the accident:
Provided that your injuries do not prevent you from doing so, it is important that you call the police and ask for the other driver’s contact and insurance information. This includes:
license plate number
vehicle description (make, model, year)
insurer company information
If any witnesses are present, it is important to gather their information, as well. Witnesses can attest to the cause and severity of an accident, which can strengthen your claim.
It is also a good idea to take photos of the damages on your car and the other car. This is helpful for making sure that your damage is covered, and that you aren’t paying for damage on the other car that wasn’t caused by you. If you have injuries – such as cuts or bruises – document these with pictures, as well.
Provide An Accurate Report
When the police arrive, if you are able to, you want to make sure that you explain what happened in the accident as clearly and accurately as you can. Making sure to note where you were hit, what speed you were going, what traffic conditions were like, etc. The more information you provide to the police, the more accurate their report will be, which can affect negotiations with insurance companies.
Following the accident:
Seek Medical Treatment
Often times, injuries are not apparent immediately after an accident. Many people who have been in an accident do not start to notice any pain until hours or even days afterwards. Even in minor accidents, your body can sustain serious and permanent injuries to the spine or brain. Because of this, it is important to consider seeking medical evaluation at the closest Emergency Room or Urgent Care immediately following the accident, even if you feel fine.
If you do notice pain, soreness, headaches, or dizziness in the days following the accident, it is generally recommended that you continue to seek treatment through your primary care doctor to create a plan for any future treatment. You can also go to Urgent Care if you cannot get an appointment with your primary care doctor scheduled for the near future.
Take Notes & Stay Organized
Although accidents can be overwhelming, it is a good idea to keep all of your information about the accident organized and in a file. This information includes the information, photos, and police report from the day of the accident as well as your medical records and bills. One option is to keep an accident journal, noting pain levels (physical and emotional), any difficulties you may experience as a result of the accident, work hours missed due to the accident, out-of-pocket expenses reasonably incurred due to the accident, and anything else that may be relevant to the accident.
Consult An Attorney
Protecting and knowing your rights are some of the most important things to do after an accident. Our attorneys provide a free consultation for personal injury cases.
If you become a client with us, here are some of the ways we could add value to your case:
We speak with your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company so you don’t have to;
We provide legal advice on conducting statements with your insurer;
We make sure valuable evidence is preserved;
We advise you on pursuing medical treatment you need;
We gather and compile your medical records and bills;
We collect witness statements and conduct thorough investigations into the accident;
We negotiate with insurance companies to get you the compensation you deserve;
We sue the insurance company if they do not offer you a satisfactory settlement; and,
We keep you apprised of everything going on in your case.
After you have been in an accident, you may feel overwhelmed, and unsure of what to do. That is why it is important to contact a personal injury attorney who can help make your life easier in this trying time. If you have been in a motor vehicle or pedestrian accident, contact our office today for a free consultation.