What to Do After a Car Accident

5 Important Steps to Protect Your Fight for Compensation

There is no way to predict how you may react following a car accident. The unexpected impact is frightening, and severe injuries are painful. As other drivers stop to assist you and first responders arrive on the scene, the chaos is sometimes overwhelming. Important steps following such a sudden and traumatic event can protect you if you decide to pursue compensation for your damages.

The following five steps serve as important tools for protecting your right to fight for compensation via a car accident injury claim or lawsuit.

1. Seek Immediate Medical Attention

A car accident is a violent event that can result in multiple severe injuries and that need immediate medical attention. Shock may mask serious internal injuries and fool you into believing you are fine.

As much as you want to feel fine, seeking immediate medical attention is critical for your health. You may experience both shock and internal bleeding, dangerous conditions that, if left untreated, can result in death.

Seeking medical attention also serves as important evidence should you proceed with a civil case. An insurance company may deny or delay your claim should you fail to obtain immediate assistance from a medical facility. The company may question whether your injuries relate to the accident and fight to pay you for your damages.

Accepting medical assistance at the scene from first responders and transport to the hospital is a wise decision. Only a trained medical professional can perform the appropriate tests necessary for a diagnosis and treatment.

2. Limit What You Say and Share

You must provide a statement to the police. The documentation of your version of events provides vital information for a future claim and lawsuit.

If you are the one to call 9-1-1, inform the dispatcher of how many vehicles and possible victims are at the scene.

Refrain from engaging with the other driver because:

  • Alcohol or drugs may impair the driver’s state of mind and make them act aggressively toward you.
  • The driver may blame you for the accident.
  • An apology from you may appear as an admission of guilt for the accident.

These are a few of the key reasons why allowing first responders to manage the immediate aftermath of a car accident scene is important. Call 9-1-1, then cooperate with those who arrive to assist you in your time of need.

Smartphones can serve as valuable tools for documenting an accident scene. However, refrain from sharing photographs or videos from the scene to social media. Not only may this impact a potential civil case later, but it can also alarm relatives before notifying them yourself.

A car accident is certainly a traumatic event. How you act and respond to others may depend upon the extent of your injuries and the shock of the event. Remain calm, call for help, and protect your right to legal action if the other driver is negligent for your harm.

3. Witnesses Matter: Obtain Contact Information at the Scene

At the core of car accident claims is the issue of negligence. When a person fails to exercise the same care a reasonable person would use in a similar situation, they are considered negligent.

A car accident lawyer can review your evidence to identify the person liable for your injuries. car accident claims and lawsuits vary due to the specific details of the accident. A car accident involving a large, semi-truck for example, may involve more than one liable party. Those liable for your damages may include the truck driver and the trucking company.

Determining the how and why of your accident is where witnesses can prove invaluable to your case. If your injuries are so severe that you do not remember what happened, witness statements and testimony can fill in the blanks and strengthen your case.

Collecting the names and contact information from witnesses at the scene is imperative. A bystander can assist you if your injuries make it impossible for you to gather phone numbers alone.

Witnesses may provide statements to police; however, your attorney may want to speak with them to learn more about the accident. A witness may move, die, or forget important details if contacted long after the accident. Securing legal representation and providing them with your witness information as soon as possible can assist your lawyer in building your case for compensation.

4. Realize That Insurance Companies Are Businesses

The insurance company representing the responsible party may contact you soon after the accident. As a for-profit business, their intention generally involves saving their company money by offering you as little compensation as possible.

Insurance adjusters sometimes push for you to accept their initial settlement offer. Among their many concerns are generally the fear of you obtaining legal representation. An insurance adjuster knows that once this happens, a low-dollar settlement offer faces immediate refusal.

A tragic car accident upends your life and can leave you feeling anxious about your future. A car accident lawyer understands this and will work hard to fight for meaningful and fair compensation. The damages you suffered may affect your life forever, and for that, you deserve the best outcome possible for your claim and lawsuit.

5. Protect Your Chance for Fair Compensation

Serious injuries do not instantly heal. The frustration you feel is understandable as you deal with medical procedures and miss time from work. The major changes to your daily routine and quality of life are not fair when the accident was due to another driver’s negligence.

A car accident claim is sometimes a lengthy process that must begin sooner rather than later. If you suffered serious injuries and face a lengthy recovery or permanent disability, a car accident lawyer can help you.

A lawyer provides the following types of assistance for accident victims:

  • Manages phone calls: referring aggressive insurance adjusters to your lawyer affords you more peace and rest
  • Handles paperwork: ensures that your case meets all court deadlines, such as the statute of limitations
  • Keeps you informed: provides updates on your case and remains in contact with you throughout the process
  • Represents your best interests: fights for fair compensation by negotiating with insurance companies out of court
  • Goes the extra mile when necessary: if the negotiation process fails to produce desired results, a lawyer takes your case to trial

Fighting for compensation on your own is a difficult process.

Two important decisions can negatively affect your life moving forward:

  1. Accepting an insurance company’s initial settlement offer: This decision forfeits your right to future litigation should your medical condition worsen.
  2. Missing the deadline for filing your civil lawsuit: The statute of limitations is state law, and failure to file your case promptly can leave you with no options for legal action.

Additional Considerations Following a Car Accident

Car accidents can involve a broad scope of outcomes, including death and financial hardship. If one or more of the following apply to your situation, a civil case may be appropriate.

Wrongful Death

Sometimes a car accident inflicts deadly injuries. The loss of someone you love is incredibly tragic. Learning that your loved one died due to driver negligence can turn your grief into anger.

A driver who engages in dangerous actions while sharing the road with others may face criminal charges. Criminal law is separate from civil law, making it possible to take legal action regardless of criminal proceedings and outcomes.

A wrongful death claim and lawsuit typically apply to close family members, such as a surviving spouse, parent, or children. You can learn more about whether you qualify by scheduling a free case evaluation.

The types of damages possible in a wrongful death case generally include:

  • Costs associated with a funeral, burial, or cremation: funeral costs along can average between $7,000 and $12,000
  • The last medical costs for your loved one’s care: final medical expenses are sometimes included in wrongful death cases
  • Lost income: the wages your loved one earned and their potential income had they survived
  • Loss of companionship: money cannot replace the close relationship you shared with your loved one; however, it can compensate for their absence

A wrongful death lawyer provides the compassionate care necessary to manage your case. They also aggressively fight for the compensation your family deserves.

The Costs Associated With Severe Injuries

Depending upon the type of injury you or a loved one experienced, you may face massive medical expenses. When the injuries are the result of a driver’s reckless actions, they must face accountability.

Medical costs continue to climb, and regardless of whether you have insurance, a catastrophic injury can greatly impact your finances. Combined with your inability to work, the financial stress is great and unfair.

Broken bones may eventually heal, yet other injuries can require a lifetime of care, such as:

Traumatic brain injury: A severe traumatic brain injury impacts normal brain function. If a loved one suffered such an injury, they may struggle with:

  • Memory skills
  • Mobility
  • Depression

The changes your loved one experiences are painful to watch and sometimes difficult to manage. Placing your loved one in a skilled nursing facility is not an easy decision, yet one can afford the care they need.

Such care is generally unaffordable for most families. With average costs of $8,000 per month, you can easily find your savings and other funds quickly depleted. If the driver responsible for your loved one’s injury was drunk, distracted, or negligent in some other way, give thought to contacting a lawyer to discuss your case.

Spinal cord injury: The spinal cord performs an important function in communicating with the brain. When an injury occurs, this communication can become greatly reduced or stop altogether.

These are just two examples of traumatic injuries and the financial costs associated with their care. Car accident injuries are unique to the person that experiences them, and the amount or length of care can vary.

Why Your Steps Following a Car Accident Are so Important

The actions you take following a traumatic car accident are important for pursuing a civil claim and lawsuit. The accident involves more than just you and your insurance company. A host of other people will play a role in your immediate future, including doctors and insurance companies.

A car accident claim is possible if another driver was negligent. Investigating your accident and reviewing key pieces of evidence requires time. Fighting an insurance company for fair compensation requires energy. When you suffer serious harm or a loss, you may have neither. A car accident or wrongful death lawyer can represent you and protect your best interests. Contact The May Firm for a free consultation today.

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