What to Do If You Have Been Injured in a Car Accident
No one wants to be seriously injured. And trying to deal with the complications that accompany an injury caused by the negligence of others can be as bad as the injury itself. The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone.
If you have been in a car accident, there are steps that you should take immediately. The following suggestions are not intended to serve as legal advice; they are common-sense steps you can take to preserve evidence and make sure you are treated fairly when you have been injured:
- Report it: When you have been involved in an auto accident, call the police first. The police will create a report that documents that accident and preserves important details. Don’t be tempted to just “settle” with the other driver without contacting the authorities; doing so will prevent you and your attorney from having access to the objective facts of your case.
- Get medical treatment: When you’ve been hurt in an auto accident, you might decide not to seek medical treatment if your injuries seem minor. Don’t do this! When an accident is the responsibility of a third party, such as another driver, you should seek medical treatment not only to make sure you are not more seriously injured than you believe, but also to document any physical trauma you have suffered. It may be that you have minor injuries that heal quickly; sometimes, however, the extent of injuries due to an accident can take time to appear. If you are injured, it is always best to get a medical professional’s opinion, for your safety and to preserve important information.
- Document the details: In addition to the documentation that law enforcement and health care professionals can provide, information you provide is important, too. Immediately after the accident, or as soon as practical, you can do the following to help preserve vital evidence:
- Make notes of key information, such as names of persons involved, driver’s license numbers, and time of day the accident occurred.
- If possible, take photos of the accident scene and injuries you may have. Even a photo taken with a cellphone camera can be useful.
- Keep copies of all bills related to any medical care you have received, doctor’s instructions, or receipts for items such as car rental.
- Don’t depend on memory! As soon as practical, you may want to write down important details, such as what you were doing when the accident happened, what actions you took first, the names of any witnesses, and anything you were told by anyone else involved.
- Get help: Don’t wait to call an attorney. You should contact a lawyer as soon as practical so that all facts and evidence can be obtained accurately. The right attorney will also be familiar with insurance procedures, reporting deadlines, and all the requirements for managing your case. Whether the resolution to your injury comes about through a trial, or simply through negotiation with an insurance company, time is of the essence in getting the justice you deserve.
- Choose the right attorney: The attorney you select to represent you should be familiar with your specific type of case and should have experience in resolving them.
At the Law Offices of William F. Underwood, we believe that results matter most – see some of our most recent case results.