According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 2 million car accidents with injuries occur each and every year. This means that the majority of us will be involved in an accident at some point in our lifetime.
That means that it’s important that you know what to do after a car accident, so that you can help ensure your rights are protected. The steps you take could save your life—and influence the outcome of any personal injury claim.
Important Steps Following an Accident
- Report the Accident: After you are out of immediate danger it is important to report the accident to the proper authorities. Filing an official police report documents the accident and gives law enforcement an opportunity to record their findings. An officer whose findings favor your story can serve as a witness later, if there is a trial.
- Exchange Contact Information: Next, get contact information for all other motorists involved in the accident and for any witnesses. This includes obtaining full names, license numbers, and insurance carriers.
- Document the Scene: If possible, take pictures of the accident scene. Photograph the positions of all vehicles, their damage, and all street signs and traffic lights. Any other evidence you think might be helpful should be photographed as well.
- Seek Medical Attention: Even if you don’t think you were injured, it is important to see a doctor. Immediately after an accident, your body may secrete adrenaline. This can reduce the pain and mask serious injuries. Never downplay your injuries. Be sure to discuss any discomfort, pain, or inflammation with your doctor–no matter how irrelevant you think it might be. Many injuries can only be diagnosed through specialized tests, such as MRIs and CT scans.
- Keep Careful Records: After a car accident, it is important to maintain financial records. Accident victims are eligible by law to receive compensation for expenses related to their injury. This includes travel costs to and from medical appointments, prescription medications, medical devices, and rehabilitation expenses.
- Contact an Attorney: Never accept a settlement check without consulting your attorney first. Cashing any check marked “final payment” will end your negotiating power—and your ability to file a claim.
If you have been injured in a car accident, we can help. Contact the Green Law Firm, P.C. for a free review of your case. We can discuss all of your legal options and help protect your rights during this difficult time.