What steps should you take if you are injured in an auto accident?
As the media tells us daily, auto accidents involving personal injury are all too common. If you are injured in a car accident, you are entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other related expenses. Hopefully, insurance will cover most of your costs, but, if not, or if you experience extensive pain and suffering, you may want to receive additional damages through a lawsuit. An insurance company will reimburse you for medical bills, lost wages, and expenses related to your auto accident. Whether this compensation comes from your insurance company or the insurance company of the other driver depends on whether (and which) one of the drivers was at fault. Since being in a car accident usually has an element of psychological shock or trauma, whether or not personal injuries are involved, it is important to understand the protocol to follow once the event takes place.
Steps to Take Immediately Following an Auto Accident
First of all, remember, you should have your license, registration and insurance card available at all times. If you are injured in an auto accident, there are several steps to be taken promptly. Obviously, if your injuries are serious, the first thing you should do is seek immediate medical attention. You, or someone close to you, should also file a police report (whether there are police at the scene or not) and contact your insurance company so that they will assign you a claims adjuster to get the ball rolling. It is also a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney who specializes in vehicular accidents to review your options going forward.
The Need to Document Your Claim
The more solid evidence you have to support your claim, the better. By taking the following actions you give yourself the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve:
- Write down or dictate everything you remember about the accident as soon as possible
- Return, or have someone else return, to the scene to take pictures of relevant factors, like objects in the roadway or obscured traffic signs
- Preserve any physical evidence pertaining to the accident, such as torn clothing or damaged property
- Contact any witnesses and record their observations
- Document your injuries with medical reports and imaging tests
Although it may seem overwhelming to take the suggested steps under such troubling circumstances, by having your ducks in a row you give yourself a strong advantage in the struggle to receive appropriate compensation. Taking the suggested steps is important to your claims of personal injury and will enable your attorney to get a clearer understanding of how to proceed if a lawsuit becomes necessary. Clearly, all of this may seem overwhelming at the time of the traumatic event, particularly if you are recovering from serious injuries at home or in the hospital. Nonetheless, it is well worth your while to have those close to you, as well as your attorney, assist you in getting the information necessary to proceed expeditiously.