Car accidents can be extremely stressful and overwhelming. Often, drivers involved in collisions may not know exactly what to do, or they may be too overwhelmed or injured to think clearly right after an accident. But there are three things that you should absolutely do anytime you are involved in an accident. First, you should call the police; second, you should seek medical attention; and third, you should contact an attorney. Even if you think your accident was trivial or no one was at fault or you are not badly hurt, these three steps can help avoid complications down the line. By making an effort to follow these three steps, you can ensure that you and your legal rights are protected.
Call The Police
The first thing you need to do is notify the police. In the minutes immediately following the accident, it is extremely important to document what occurred and to get the facts and the details surrounding the collision. The police can also help ensure that no details are overlooked in the frantic aftermath of the accident. You should get contact information for any witnesses. Be sure to take pictures of the accident – the vehicles involved, tire marks on the roadway, road debris, and any injuries that you have suffered. Allen & Allen offers a Glove Compartment Guide that includes a checklist of information to collect at the accident scene. You can download the guide from our website, and print copies to keep in all of your vehicles. It is always a good idea to consult a list or guide to ensure that you do not forget anything.
Seek Medical Attention
The second thing you should do if you are injured in an accident is seek immediate medical attention. Never assume that the soreness or the pain that you feel after the collision is going to go away. If an ambulance is on the scene of the accident, seek treatment from them or go to the emergency room. You also need to document any new complaints that crop up in the days and weeks after the accident, since sometimes long-term injuries take longer to show pain or symptoms. Seeking medical attention right away will help solidify any insurance claims you may have that arise from the accident. The longer you wait to seek medical attention, the more likely it is the insurance company is going to use that delay against you and your case, with the goal of reducing or denying your claim. Additionally, injuries may worsen without medical attention, which will only further complicate your case and your claim down the road.
Contact An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
The third thing you should do after an accident is contact an experienced personal injury attorney to determine whether you have a case. This also means that you should refrain from doing a number of other things, such as discussing the accident with friends and family, or posting about it on social media. If you have a valid personal injury claim, your attorney can help guide you through the process, but it may become more complicated if you have spoken to the other driver or given statements to the insurance company. To be safe, and preserve the integrity of your legal claim, avoid the following communications about the accident:
Do not discuss the accident or how it occurred with the other driver(s) involved. This includes any apologies or admissions of fault or guilt, as well as accusations that the other driver was at fault. You may think that you know or saw the cause of the accident, but often a police report and evaluation will reveal other details or causes. As such, it is best to say nothing about the accident. Simply exchange contact information and wait for the police to arrive.
Avoid speaking to the insurance company about the details of the accident. You may discuss the property damage, but avoid discussing the accident, your injuries, or any treatment you may be receiving. Sometimes, insurance companies may press you to give a recorded statement. While this may seem harmless and honest, you never know how the details of a case will develop and how this statement may be used. To be safe, avoid making these kinds of statements and consult your attorney.
Never post anything about your accident on any kind of social media. While this may be an obvious rule, many people think nothing of posting life details on the internet. Attorneys for the insurance companies may search your internet social media profiles for the purpose of using information posted against your claim. Therefore, it is best to avoid social media altogether when it comes to your accident.
An experienced attorney can help you understand the details of your claim and will be familiar with the kinds of issues you may encounter - such as the insurance company pressuring you for a statement. An attorney can help you deal with these issues and give you advice throughout the process to best obtain a positive outcome in your case.
At the law firm of Allen & Allen, our attorneys have a great deal of experience with car accident cases and personal injury claims. We understand the stresses that often follow car accidents and can help coach you through the steps you need to take. However, make sure you first follow the steps above to ensure fewer complications and obstacles to your potential claim. If you’ve been injured, call us for a free consultation at 1-866-388-1307.