Immediately Following The Crash – What To Do
Most states require you to stop your vehicle as close to the impact of the accident or you could be considered a hit-and-run driver. It is unlawful to leave the scene of an accident and you could face serious penalties or jail-time for such conduct. Things you should do in the moments following your car crash include:
• Steer your car off the road to the shoulder. If your car is operable, it should be moved out of the line of traffic. This will prevent additional accidents or injuries to other drivers that happen upon the incident. In doing this you are following the law to reduce further disruption and contain damage.
• Call the police. A formal accident report needs to be taken. Having an official witness to gather details of the incident can help you with the insurance company and a personal injury claim should the matter go to court.
• Call 911 if the accident caused injury. Call 911 if a crash results in leaving someone unconscious or hurt. It is not advised to move those injured in the event there are head and back injuries unless doing so would save the injured party from further risk of harm.
• Exchange insurance information. This should include the name, phone number and insurance company of the other driver. The information will be included in a police report and you are privy to a copy once it’s available in the records department at the police station.
• Get the contact information of witnesses. Your lawyer and the insurance company will want this information as it will aid in gathering information and corroborating your story. A witness to the accident strengthens your version of the facts.
• Take pictures of the accident scene. Pictures of all the details of the accident can be helpful for the insurance claim. This might include road hazards, the placement of the cars involved in the crash and all damage on the scene.
• Seek medical attention. Whether or not you have visible injuries, it’s critical to be evaluated by a doctor. This is because some potentially life-threatening injuries can remain dormant.
Am I At Fault?
No one plans on getting into a car accident. In the moments following a crash, you may wonder if you are at fault. Or is the other driver at fault? It’s best not to admit fault at the accident scene, even if the other driver is telling you that you caused the accident.
Serious injuries from the car accident can compound the severity of the situation. If you are found at fault and have caused serious injuries to the other driver, you could face a legal battle. Similarly, if you were seriously injured due to the other driver being at fault, then you may need to pursue legal action.
When the immediate crash is over, many people are left with questions about how to handle the aftermath of a car accident. Some important steps include:
Call your insurance company. Your insurance company will need to be informed directly following an accident especially, if the accident is your fault. Whether a state has fault or no-fault insurance plays a role in determining how a case is handled. For instance, in a no-fault state, this means each insurance company pays the damages for their policy holder. In order to file a lawsuit in a no-fault insurance state you need the help of a personal injury lawyer.
Hire an attorney. Asking friends and family for advice or searching the Internet for legal answers will not suffice. In this uncertain time you need legal advice you can trust. If you were hurt in a crash as a result of a negligent motorist, your injuries are real that may have short or long-term implications. Your personal injury attorney can inform you of your legal options after a careful and thorough consultation. What if your injuries will keep you from work? Lost wages in a household can put a tremendous financial strain on you and your family.
Questions Your Attorney Can Answer
Many accident victims, like you, have questions only a skilled personal injury accident attorney can answer. Some of the most common questions are:
• Do I have a case? The success of most personal injury lawsuits hinges on two factors: the cause of the accident and the harm it has caused the victim. Proving that the accident was caused by another driver’s or party’s negligence can strengthen your case. Maintaining a complete record of all accident-related expenses can also demonstrate how the wreck has harmed you.
• How should I deal with car insurance company? When it comes to working with the insurance company,
it’s best to tread carefully. Fortunately, your attorney will be well-versed in handling insurance negotiations. Your attorney can help you avoid accepting settlements far below the true value of your case and will handle all other insurance-related details.
• How long does a personal injury claim take? It depends on the factors in your case. Your attorney understands your wish to move quickly to get compensation and will work as efficiently as possible.
If you decide to pursue a settlement against the responsible party your attorney will also review accident details including:
• The date, time and location of the accident
• If any witnesses were present
• Traffic flow and congestion at the time
• All medical records and the police report from the accident
• Injuries suffered by you or any passengers in the car
• Damages done to your vehicle and other property
The Weeks And Months Following A Car Accident
Hefty medical bills. Auto repairs. Lost paychecks. A serious car accident can impact your life in countless ways, creating stress, fear and an abundance of uncertainty. If the accident was caused by no fault of your own, these emotions can feel overwhelming.
The dust may settle on auto repairs and property damage, but if you sustained severe injuries in the accident, your life may never be the same. Continuing to pay for medical treatment can also take a tremendous toll on your financial stability and many victims can expect to face bills relating to:
• Medications to help you cope with pain
• Physical therapy or other rehabilitation
• Taking a medical leave form work
Unfortunately, the bills for serious injuries don’t stop there. If your mobility has been jeopardized or if the accident has left you disabled, taking care of everyday tasks may prove impossible. A home remodel or new vehicle may also be necessary to improve your quality of life. Regardless of the bills coming in, an attorney can help you recover compensation for your accident-related expenses.
It’s important to realize that some injuries may not have revealed their full impact in only mere weeks after an accident. Getting X-rays after a car crash will likely reveal broken bones and many other ailments right away, but identifying head and brain injuries may require careful analysis through the use of an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Some of the most common areas of injury following a motor vehicle accident include:
• Neck pain is one of the most common types of injury. Your head was shifted in an unnatural manner at the point of impact. Immediately following the crash, it is normal to feel stiff and typically the pain gets worse. This type of injury directly correlates to frequent headaches.
• Head injuries have an array of signs, including headaches, vomiting, concussions, short-term memory loss and sudden intoxication to alcohol. Some of the visual cues are bruises and scalp wounds. Due to the severity of head injuries, they need to be addressed immediately. Their treatment is also commonly a precursor to detecting a brain injury.
• Brain injuries are very hard to detect to the naked eye. A medical doctor may need to perform a CT (computerized tomography) scan in order to accurately assess if there is internal bleeding (brain hemorrhage) or bruised brain tissue. A brain hemorrhage is a type of stroke.
• Back pain can change the way you conduct your life. It can cause chronic pain down your entire spinal cord and, in some cases, warrant the need for back surgery to correct the damage. You might need to take pain medicine to alleviate the symptoms of the discomfort.
Where you were once strong and healthy, able to play tennis or downhill ski, you could now need medical aids for getting around. The human body is resilient in healing, but a car accident puts a tremendous amount of trauma on the body in mere seconds, often making it necessary for surgeries and medications to properly heal and cope. It’s also possible you sustained permanent damage from the crash.
While there is no magic formula which guarantees your case will be successful, an attorney will do their utmost to return your life to normal after an accident. For many victims, this means filing a lawsuit against the liable party. If you take this route, your attorney will be at your side throughout the process, looking out for your needs and working to recover compensation for you.
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