The aftermath of a car accident can be confusing, overwhelming, and stressful — especially if you’ve been injured. If you are filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit, what you do immediately after the accident is particularly important. By following these tips, you can help protect your legal rights and strengthen your case.
IMPORTANT: Your health and safety are most important. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, immediately seek medical treatment. Follow the suggestions of the first responders and go to the hospital if you are injured. Keep in mind, certain “late-onset” injuries may not be apparent right away, and you may not even think you’re injured. Some of these late-onset injuries can be especially serious, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI), which can be difficult to detect without advanced imaging.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Follow these tips after a car accident in order to preserve your rights and begin building a case to support your injury claim or lawsuit:
- Seek Medical Attention — If you’ve been injured, seek medical attention immediately. Not only is this important for ensuring your health and safety, but medical records and doctors’ notes will be important evidence in any potential injury claim or lawsuit.
- Take Photos — Document the crash scene with photos, focusing on any relevant evidence, including vehicle damage, skid marks, debris, and road signage. Don’t forget to get photos of any injuries suffered by you or others in your vehicle.
- Talk with Potential Witnesses — Talk with anyone who may have witnessed the accident. Get their contact information and follow up with them. A personal injury attorney may seek their testimony in a potential deposition or trial, as well.
- Get the Police Report — The official accident report will typically play an important role in determining liability and influencing the outcome of any potential injury claim or lawsuit. You can request a copy of the accident report from the law enforcement office. Sometimes the insurance company may be able to provide the police report, as well. An attorney can also help you obtain the accident report.
- Do NOT Give a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company — In the aftermath of a car accident, the insurance company will usually ask you to make a recorded statement. Do NOT give a recorded statement without first talking with an experienced car accident lawyer. The insurance company will seek to pay as little as possible on your claim, and may try to “trick” you into admitting fault.
- Contact an Attorney — Call a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help investigate your claim and advise you on your best available legal options. They can also help prepare you for statements to the insurance company. In the event you decide to pursue an injury claim, the attorney can handle negotiations with the insurance company and any potential litigation.
Nothing can fully prepare you for a car accident. In addition to physical injuries, an accident can result in significant medical expenses, lost wages, and more, as the lawyers at Riddle & Brantley can explain. It is important to follow the steps above in order to preserve your legal rights and begin building a case for compensation in the event you file a personal injury claim or lawsuit.