An automobile accident can be a tragic and traumatic experience leaving multiple people injured. Auto accidents with serious injuries account for more than 3.5 million emergency room visits annually.
Unfortunately, the trauma and physical injury do not end when you leave the emergency room. Many victims require ongoing medical care and have trouble returning to work.
Luckily, a great car accident lawyer can help ensure you get adequate medical care as you navigate the complex legal system in search of justice. The right car accident lawyer can help you seek financial compensation to pay for medical costs, lost wages, and even pain and suffering if things are handled properly. Here are the 5 steps you should take immediately after being involved in a car accident.
Call Emergency Services
When you are involved in an automobile accident, it is crucial that you call emergency services immediately. Even if you don’t think you are seriously injured, you should still call 911. Other people may be injured and it’s best to let emergency services check you out. Sometimes injuries aren’t immediately apparent if you are in shock and your adrenaline is pumping.
The police will need to come out and make their own report, which may be helpful later. Sometimes they need to direct traffic or call tow trucks for inoperable vehicles. The police will also take statements from witnesses and work with other emergency personnel to get the scene under control.
Collect Evidence and Gather Information
If you are able, it helps to take pictures with your smartphone while you are still on the scene. Pictures of the crash site and vehicle damage can help tell your story in court or to the insurance company. If you can, get names and contact information from any witnesses who saw what happened but were not involved in the accident.
You’ll also want to exchange information with the other drivers on the scene if possible. It’s best to exchange names, phone numbers, driver’s license information, and insurance companies but you don’t want to give more information than necessary. The other drivers don’t need to know your policy limits or any other detailed information, only what’s necessary.
File and Accident Report
Next, you’ll need to file an accident report and notify your insurance company. Some states require specific forms to be submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) after an accident. Be sure to check your state and local laws regarding DMV notification.
Afterwards, you’ll also want to notify your insurance company. Again, do not offer more information than necessary. Simply call to report the accident and answer the questions your insurance company may have. Failure to report the accident immediately can be grounds for your insurance to refuse coverage but an experienced car accident attorney can often help ensure you don’t need to use your own insurance to pay for damages.
Seek Medical Treatment
You may have received treatment on the scene or in the emergency room, but you should still follow up with your primary care physician. Many symptoms, even serious ones, may not manifest until several days after the accident. Your primary care doctor knows you and knows your medical records. They’ll likely be able to help pinpoint if there are additional potential injuries which may need treatment. Your primary care physician can work closely with your car accident attorney to ensure you get the immediate and future care you may need.
Call a Car Accident Lawyer
When you are involved in any type of automobile accident, partner with a great car accident attorney who can help fight for your rights so you can concentrate on healing. Each state has a different statute of limitations regarding auto accident lawsuits, so it’s best not to wait. An experienced car accident attorney will be familiar with the laws of your state, and they will help you fight for the financial compensation you are rightfully due.
When you are involved in a car accident, it is essential that you take the proper steps to preserve your rights. First, call emergency services and try to take some pictures of the scene with your smartphone. Exchange information with the other drivers involved and check to see if you must file an accident report with your local DMV. Report the accident to your insurance company and seek medical treatment from your primary care physician. Then, contact an experienced car accident attorney immediately so they can fight for your rights as you focus on healing.