Car accidents can be a terrifying, confusing and jarring experience. As difficult as it may seem at the moment there are certain things you should do following an accident/collision to make sure that you have the greatest chance to receive full compensation for your injuries. The Harris Firm understands how scary car accidents can be, which is why we have provided some crucial steps you should take in the event you are injured in a car accident.
- The best course of action after you’ve been in an accident is to call law enforcement and have them document the incident. It is imperative that you report the accident to the police. They will create a report of the scene and call medical personnel to the scene if medical attention is necessary. Law enforcement will do a preliminary investigation by interviewing everyone involved in the accident, interviewing any witnesses, examining the scene of the collision, inspecting and examining the vehicles and determining who was at fault for the accident. A report from law enforcement that concludes who was at fault for the car accident is the single most persuasive piece of evidence in proving liability. If you do not have an accident report then you will expose yourself to a “he-said-she-said” situation. Do not let this happen to you. Always call law enforcement so they can make a report following a car accident.
- You should always obtain the contact information from any witnesses to the accident. If your injuries do not prevent you from doing so, it is imperative that you obtain the contact information from any witnesses of the collision. Many times witnesses may leave before law enforcement arrives at the scene so it then becomes your word against the other driver’s. By getting witness information you will help law enforcement determine who was at fault for the accident. Also, often police reports do not list witnesses with enough detailed information in order to contact them. The report may just list the witness’s name without a phone number or any other identifying details. It might be impossible to track the individual down later. This makes it so important that you obtain witness information at the scene of your accident if you are physically able to do so.
- It is important that you seek out medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident. This is not the time to worry about the cost of medical treatment or hoping that the pain might go away. One of the reasons to seek medical attention immediately is that the longer you wait to receive medical attention, the more likely an insurance company will try to argue that you were not injured as a result of the collision. Insurance companies will try to argue that your injuries were the result of something that happened after the accident or that you did not seek out medical treatment until an attorney told you to do so. They will argue that your injuries are somehow fake or not caused by the collision. Do not make this mistake. Always receive medical attention for any injuries after an accident.
- You should describe your injuries in detail to the medical staff. It is imperative that you describe your injuries thoroughly and in detail. The medical providers will be documenting your complaints and injuries into their medical records. These medical records will be relied upon by the insurance companies in evaluating your claims. Even a slight pain in an area that you don’t think is worth mentioning could become worse over time and become a serious injury. If you do not report it to the medical providers then it could make it more difficult to prove that it was related to the accident.
- It is also important to receive all necessary diagnostic tests and examinations for any injuries following an accident. It is important that any and all injuries that you may have received are documented and brought to light. MRIs, x-rays, scans, etc. will allow your injuries to be diagnosed and the closer in time they are diagnosed to the accident the easier it will be to prove they were caused by the accident.
- You should never give any statements to an insurance company after an accident – not even your own! You can call your insurance company to report the accident but do not give any statements in relation to the incident until after consulting with an attorney.
- Obtaining an experienced personal injury attorney is imperative if you were injured following an accident. Unlike your insurance company, the personal injury attorney will have your best interests in mind and will fight for you to receive the maximum compensation and benefits for your injuries.