What to do after a car crash: A step by step guide
One minute, everything is fine, and then all of a sudden, the worst has happened. You’ve been in a car crash. What you do next will make all the difference from your medical treatment to the compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages and more. Injuries may be severe and emotions high, but it is important to remember that there are a few oh-so-important steps to take immediately following a car crash to ensure your rights are protected.
Car crashes are unexpected, stressful and are bound to happen to every one of us at some point, which is why it is essential to be as prepared as possible, instead of being left wondering what to do after a car crash.
Tips To Protect Your Rights
After the initial adrenaline rush, take a few deep breaths and grab your Carlson Law Firm Do’s and Don’ts checklist. This short list of critical steps that we’ve compiled will guarantee your safety, protect your rights, and ensure you are adequately compensated for your losses.
After a Car Crash, Consider the Following Steps:
- Step 1: Stay at the scene
- Step 2: Ensure your safety
- Step 3: Call the police
- Step 4: Gather details
- Step 5: Talk to witnesses
- Step 6: Take photos
- Step 7: Contact a qualified car crash lawyer
Car Crash Do’s:
1. Stay at the scene: Never leave the accident scene until it’s appropriate to do so. If you leave, particularly where someone has sustained injuries or was killed, you can face serious criminal penalties for being a hit-and-run driver.
2. Ensure safety: After the accident, immediately determine whether anyone is injured. If so, seek medical attention for those seriously injured by calling 911 to get an ambulance on the scene. Often, the pain and injuries from motor vehicle accidents become apparent hours after the actual collision. If the vehicles involved are still operational, get them to the shoulder or off the main road. If you have flares or reflective emergency triangles, set them up to warn other cars. Move yourself and others involved away from the vehicle and to a safe place.
3. Call the police: Whether an accident is just a minor fender-bender or a major collision, calling the police is important and in some states, it’s legally required. The responding officers will fill out an accident report and document the scene. If the police can’t come to the scene of the accident, you can go to the nearest police station and complete a report yourself. Make sure you request a copy of the report for yourself along with the name and badge numbers of responding officers.
4. Gather details: If you do not know certain facts, tell that to the officer. Do not speculate, guess or misstate any of the facts. If you are asked if you are injured and you are not sure, say you are not sure, rather than no. Note the name, contact and insurance information of all parties involved in the accident. Take a moment to jot down the details of the scene while still fresh in your mind.
5. Talk to witnesses: Ask everyone what they saw and if they have ever witnessed a similar accident in the same place. Ask for their contact information so that they can be contacted by your attorney later on.
6. Take photos: Document the entire crash scene, your and the other driver’s vehicle, plate and insurance card. If you have visible injuries, you should photograph them as well. Take pictures of street signs, skid marks and anything else that may affect your claim.
7. Contact an attorney: An experienced personal injury attorney can be extremely helpful in negotiating the often chaotic and confusing world of personal injury claims and settlements. Often, insurance companies want to take statements immediately after an accident. It is important that you have received legal advice before providing such a statement. Your attorney can advise you on issues ranging from how to make sure you are fully compensated for your vehicle to how to make sure you are getting the best medical treatment available. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no legal fee unless the attorney recovers compensation for your injuries.
Car Crash Don’ts:
1. Do not admit fault: Be courteous, but avoid apologizing to the other driver, no matter who is at fault. Stick to the facts when speaking to others. Do not post about the crash on social media.
2. Do not speak to the at fault driver’s insurance adjusters: Keep in mind that insurance adjusters do not have your best interest in mind. They are trained to settle your claim for the least amount possible, even it means under valuing your injuries. Anything you say during a phone call with them may be recorded and used against you in the future.
3. Do not accept a check: Although you do want to report the car crash to your insurance company, don’t take any form of payment without fully understanding the extent of your losses, injuries, and damages. This may not entirely or fairly compensate you for your damages. Don’t sign any waivers provided to you by your insurance company without seeking the advice of a personal injury attorney first.
Why You Need An Attorney After A Car Crash
Over six million car accidents occur each year in the United States. Fortunately, most of them involve only property damage – damage to the vehicle as opposed to the occupants. But one in three accidents involves personal injury to the driver or passengers and out of that number, two out of every ten accidents lead to fatal injuries. When filing a Personal Injury Claim, one of the first and most important actions to take after a personal injury occurs is to enlist a knowledgeable lawyer who has the tools and resources needed to prove fault and fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.
It is important to understand that the effects of some injuries suffered in car crashes have the potential of lasting a lifetime, making it critical that you have someone in your corner protecting your rights. Not only is it possible you may be in pain for an on-going period of time if your injuries require physical therapy, multiple surgeries and so forth, but medical bills may pile up. To avoid the added stress of medical debt, it is essential you speak to a qualified personal injury attorney who is dedicated to protecting your rights.
Not All Injuries Are Apparent Immediately
There are many instances in which an individual does not realize they have been injured in a car crash. Some injuries may take hours or days to become apparent. An example is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The varied signs and symptoms such as dizziness, blurred vision and loss of focus associated with this type of injury make it difficult to recognize. An experienced car crash lawyer will ensure you are receiving the proper medical attention for your injuries.
Why Choose The Carlson Law Firm After A Car Crash
After an injury, you may wonder how you will pay for medical bills or recover lost wages? Are you questioning how the legal process works or where to start? These are questions that our Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyers can answer for you.
At a time when you’re vulnerable, traumatized and emotionally exhausted you need a team that will support you through the often complex process that lies ahead. At The Carlson Law Firm, we can provide a level of representation that has been given recognition with awards and accolades that can be used to your advantage. Contact us for a free evaluation. We care, we can help.