You hope you’re never in a car accident but no matter how careful you are, it could happen. You may not be able to avoid distracted drivers, drunk drivers, fender benders or truck drivers who are going too fast. If you have been hurt in an accident, and you are able, you should take these steps to make sure you are compensated. If you are not able, this blog will help your family or a close friend know what to do in the event you are in a car accident.
At the Accident Scene
Allow the ambulance crew to check you out. Allow them to take you to the hospital if they feel you need care.
If possible, take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and to other vehicles involved from a distance so all vehicles involved are in the frame. Take close-up photos showing the damage to each vehicle. Write down the names, phone numbers and addresses of witnesses. Exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver.
Never say anything that could implicate you as the person who caused the accident. Even if you believe you were at fault, the other driver may share some of the liability for the accident. Anything you say could be recorded to be used against you later.
After the Accident
As soon as possible, contact your own insurance company to let it know you were in an accident. You have an obligation to cooperate with your own insurance company by giving it the information it requests.
You probably will be contacted by the insurance company for the driver who caused the accident. Be careful about giving them any detailed information about the accident before you speak with an attorney. Insurance companies want to make a profit and pay you the least amount possible, therefore you also should be careful about trying to settle your personal injury claims with them without talking to a lawyer. You may not get enough compensation to cover all your medical bills, and other expenses if you settle your case too early. You can’t tell immediately after an accident how quickly you will heal, and some injuries may not manifest until days or even months later. If you settle with the insurance company too early, you could lose compensation for those injuries.
Within a few days after the accident, go to your regular doctor to get a full checkup. Be sure to follow your doctors’ advice; get a second opinion if you are concerned about what your doctor recommends. Take care of yourself and do everything you can to recover from your injuries.
When Should You Call a Car Accident Attorney?
If possible, call a car accident attorney the same day or the next day after your accident. You’ll want to have the initial consultation as soon as possible while the events of the accident are still fresh in your mind; this also will let your attorney investigate the accident while all the facts are fresh. Additionally, you will want to talk to a lawyer promptly because you have a deadline to file a lawsuit and may have deadlines for filing legal paperwork to notify the defendant about your claim. The statute of limitations — how long you have to file a lawsuit —typically is three years from the day of the car accident. (Your lawyer can tell you about exceptions to this rule). However, if you are filing on behalf of a loved one who died as a result of injuries from the accident, you have two years to file a lawsuit. Deadlines for filing paperwork to notify the defendant of your claim can be as short as 120 days.
Contact GCW Lawyers
Contact GCW Lawyers today. If you are hospitalized because of a car accident and cannot talk on the phone, a family member or close friend can contact us on your behalf. If you are reading this and a loved one has passed because of personal injuries sustained during a vehicle accident, you can contact our office on their behalf. Our personal injury attorneys have decades of experience in representing car accident victims – we’re here to help.