I Was Injured in a Car Accident. What Should I Do?
Car accidents that happen in mere seconds can leave injuries that last a lifetime. If you’ve been hurt or you think someone else has, get them immediate medical attention. Your health is the most important thing. If injuries are major, call 911 and ask for police and an ambulance. If injuries are minor, you’ll still want to call and request that the police come to the scene.
Remain at the Scene
While you are waiting for the police, get information from the other driver and from people at the scene. Get the other driver’s name, license plate number and insurance information. Collect the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. Take note of things at the scene, like red lights, stop signs and turning lanes.
You might be tempted to apologize to the other driver–especially if you think you’re at fault–but that’s generally not a good idea. Sometimes an apology can be interpreted as an admission of guilt, which can make it more difficult to recover compensation from an insurance company. Even if you think you’re at fault, you might not have seen everything that happened. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye, and most people are confused and overwhelmed at the accident scene. This is especially true when drivers are in pain.
If your injuries seem minor, stay at the scene until matters are resolved. When you’ve been in an accident and do not require emergency care, it is important to remain at the scene long enough to get help and collect critical information. If possible, do not leave the scene before the police and other drivers do.
Get Medical Attention
Even if you believe your injuries aren’t serious enough for an ambulance, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Many times, serious injuries like concussions, other brain injuries or whiplash aren’t evident at the accident scene. It’s only later when things calm down that the pain becomes noticeable. If you don’t get medical help right away, you won’t get the care you need, and your injuries may even get worse.
Further, insurance companies often use the failure to seek medical attention as an excuse to deny claims. If you did not seek care after an accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may allege that you made up your injuries.
Talk With a Lawyer
It’s never a good idea to give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company without your lawyer present. Insurance companies are notorious for twisting your words and using them against you.
They may act friendly, but they ask questions that are designed to trip you up so that they can reject your claim. They are looking for evidence that your injuries were caused by something other than the car accident, like a previous car accident or a preexisting condition. They are also looking for evidence that you made up your injuries, so they’ll ask you about not calling an ambulance, not seeking immediate medical attention or missing a doctor’s appointment.
Your lawyer knows the tricks insurance companies use and can help protect your interests so that you can recover the compensation you deserve. She can also explain the legal system to you, so that you know what your options are. If you choose to retain a lawyer and file a personal injury claim, she can guide you through the process to help you achieve the best possible results. At our firm, these are the services that we provide to personal injury victims.
Ready to Speak with an Attorney?
Contact Lori Murray to discuss your situation.
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