What To Do After a Car Accident
Being involved in a car accident can be one of the scariest moments in your life. Immediately after the collision, expect for your adrenaline to be racing. Because your adrenaline is so high, it is important to follow the steps outlined below.
Call 911You or someone with you should immediately call 911 and make sure to accurately explain to the responder what happened with full detail. These 911 calls are always recorded and can be retrieved later.
Seek Medical TreatmentImmediately seek treatment for any injuries. Be a clear historian with the responding police officer, EMT, ER treating physician and your primary care physician. Midwestern manners are to respond "I'm fine" or "I'm ok" and then "tough it out" but this can affect your case later. If you are in pain, tell people you are in pain, right away. Additionally, as you are following up with treatment in the months to follow, be clear that "ever since this accident, I am in pain here and here." Be sure to take pictures of any injuries including bruises, cuts, burns, and scrapes as they heal. If you have permanent scarring, have it documented.
Collect EvidenceIf you are able to, collect the insurance and contact information from all parties involved in the collision. If you are unable to, try to see if someone you are with can do so for you. Another option would be to call someone to come to the scene of the accident and get information collected for you. Your health is the first priority, so don't do anything that would cause you to get more injured.
Also, if you are not seriously injured and are able to move around, make sure and take pictures of the scene of the accident, including the intersection and the damage to all vehicles. It is also helpful to take pictures of your injuries or injuries of anyone else involved in the accident.
Don't worry, if you were too injured to collect information, police officers are trained to investigate the scene of the accident and they will produce an Accident Report that has a lot of this important information so that you can file a claim.
Talk to an AttorneyWhether you are at fault for the accident or not, you should always talk to an attorney trained in personal injury law before you give a statement to the insurance company. The insurance company will be recording your statement and these recorded statements can be used against you later.
Lastly, claims adjusters have been trained to ask questions that can nullify the insurance companies' responsibility to accept the claim. For example, they may ask if you have been in prior car accidents or if you have had prior treatment for the injuries you are currently claiming. These are questions that your attorney would most likely tell you not to answer. An attorney can also discuss with you the process after filing a claim and what to do in case you dispute the amount the insurance company is willing to pay.