Despite one’s best efforts, car and other accidents do happen from time to time. However, when they do, the emphasis amid the shock often goes on whether one or more passengers are injured, or indeed alive, rather than on things like one’s rights and legal protections. As a result, many people who get involved in car accidents may be left feeling unsure as to what to do next. However, law groups have dealt with this situation many times, and from their experience come the following steps to take after a car accident.
1. Call for Help
The first step when injured in a car accident is to simply call 9-1-1 for emergency help services. If no one has any apparent injuries, this may not be strictly necessary. However, the police should be called to the scene of the accident in any case, as possessing a report of the accident on record will help when one is seeking to file claims for any potential injuries or damages. Many medical and lawyer referral services can also be called for help after an accident.
2. Make Sure Everyone is OK
The second step when injured in a car accident is to make sure anyone involved in the accident is alive and not injured. This is of course a top priority and usually the first thing that comes to mind after an accident. Should paramedics arrive on the scene of the accident, it is recommended to be evaluated and any possible injuries documented and treated. Even if injuries don’t seem apparent, it is important to get medically evaluated, as some injuries may not show up immediately. Additionally, having documentation can help provide a link between the accident and the injury, thus strengthening a case for legal reimbursement. After being medically evaluated by a professional, it’s important to comply with all treatment instructions and attend follow-up appointments as needed.
3. Document Evidence & Information
The third step when injured in a car accident is to acquire information meticulously and document relevant evidence. While the majority of drivers are aware of the need to obtain the insurance and the other party’s contact information after an accident occurs, there is still a lot more information to document. This includes, but is by no means limited to, witnesses’ names and contact information, photos of injuries, damage to the vehicle and the scene of the accident, the accident location, and timing, and meticulous notes of anything that is remembered about the accident, including the aftermath and the moments leading up to the accident, with updates added as new information comes to light. As one’s memory and recollection of events can prove faulty, especially during life-threatening or otherwise stressful events, clear and detailed documentation can help maintain a reliable recollection of the accident
4. Avoid Self-incrimination
The fourth step when injured in a car accident is to refrain from incriminating oneself. While apologizing to others involved in the accident and blaming oneself seem like the right things to do, there can often not be any clear determination of culpability until all evidence has been thoroughly and impartially evaluated. The responsibility could very well lie with the other party or even the elements. As a result, when speaking to police or other parties regarding the accident, admitting fault needlessly can damage one’s case.
5. Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
The fifth and final step when injured in a car accident is to contact a reputable car accident lawyer nearby. However minor an accident may seem at first, it is always a sound idea to contact an attorney prior to talking with insurance companies about the accident or accepting settlement offers, which tend to be quick and much lower than one may be entitled to. Even if it is later discovered that the price does not adequately cover all expenses, accepting such offers completes the claims and closes the involved parties off permanently from any further compensation. An experienced car accident attorney can help negotiate such offers and assess their fairness, defending the right to fair compensation in court aggressively should negotiations prove unsuccessful. If you don’t have an attorney, consider finding one in your area, for instance, if you live in Florida, you might look for a car accident attorney in Winter Haven, FL.
In the aftermath of a car accident, the tendency may be to hasten the process. However, it’s important to stand up for one’s own rights and be treated and compensated fairly. Thankfully, many reputable services exist to help, though an accident may cause one to feel alone at first.
Author Bio: Samantha Higgins is a professional writer with a passion for research, observation, and innovation. She is nurturing a growing family of twin boys in Portland, Oregon with her husband. She loves kayaking and reading creative non-fiction.