What to Do After a Car Accident?

Posted on July 11, 2023 in Car Accidents

The sound of vehicles colliding and the realization that you or your passenger suffered injuries can terrify you. Some vehicles may stop for people to attempt to help while others continue racing by.  You may have trouble thinking straight amid the chaos of the accident scene.

You still need to know what to do after each stage of a car accident to ensure your safety and well-being and protect your legal rights and interests. for more legal guidance you can consult with a car accident lawyer.

What to Do at the Accident Scene?

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports show that more than five million car accidents occur in the United States each year, with 43 percent resulting in injuries meaning four people suffer injuries in car accidents somewhere in the country every minute.

Despite the prevalence of collisions, those involved and injured in these accidents rarely know what to do.

To ensure the safety of yourself and your passengers after an accident, pull over to the side of the road, if possible, and exit the vehicle before exchanging contact information with the other driver.

Take several other actions to protect your rights in any subsequent personal injury claim, including:

  • Gathering evidence: Collect as much information as possible after an accident. Your attorney may also obtain evidence on your behalf after the fact. You need evidence for insurance claims and lawsuits. Key evidence includes photographs of the scene and damaged vehicles, details regarding the other driver, and the names and contact information of witnesses.
  • Calling the police: Certain accidents require immediate police notification. This includes collisions resulting in injuries or significant damage to either vehicle and cases where one of the drivers appears to be under the influence of alcohol. Police and emergency medical personnel typically respond to the scene when you dial 911 to report an incident.
  • Avoiding apologizing or discussing the accident: Provide accurate details to the investigating police officer, but discussions about liability with the other driver or witnesses may cause heated, emotional exchanges at the scene. The at-fault party’s insurer could also use your comments against you.
  • Obtaining the name of the investigating officer: Once the police complete their investigation and file a report, your attorney can assist you in obtaining a copy. The report provides essential information, including details of the accident, the officer’s observations, and any citations issued. The police report can significantly affect your personal injury case by helping establish fault and liability. Obtaining the officer’s contact information at the scene allows you to get the police report promptly.

These immediate actions protect you and your rights. An experienced car accident lawyer may use this information to pursue the compensation you deserve following a crash.

The Importance of Seeking Prompt Medical Attention

Experienced Lawyer for Car Accident near PhoenixGetting immediate medical attention after an accident is key to protecting your health, even if you do not feel like you suffered serious injuries. The Reid Physicians Group explains when someone is in an accident, their body attempts to protect itself from trauma through a sudden surge of adrenaline.

This hormone triggers several survival responses, including a diminished feeling of pain from injuries. The effects of adrenaline wear off in the hours following the accident, but you might not feel the full extent of your injuries for days as your body recovers from the initial trauma.

Medical records are important in personal injury claims, as they provide evidence of injuries and the associated costs. Your lawyer will use these records to build a strong compensation case, demonstrating the extent of your injuries and the financial burden you incurred. Medical records also help your attorney establish a connection between your injuries and the car accident, supporting your claim for damages.

Reporting the Accident to Your Insurer

You must notify your insurance company as soon as possible after an accident. Your policy requires this, even if you do not intend to file a claim against your insurance.  Ensure you provide accurate information during this conversation. Your attorney could also do this on your behalf.


Talking With an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

Consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a car accident. An experienced attorney will protect your rights and interests, ensure you follow the appropriate steps, and assist in gathering the necessary evidence to support your claim. Early consultation may also prevent critical mistakes that could hurt your case.

In cases where another driver’s negligence injured someone, insurance companies commonly exploit their lack of legal understanding and try to convince them to accept a low settlement offer, release details of their medical history, or provide a recorded statement, which they might use against them.

An attorney will typically manage communications with the insurer and the at-fault party. This allows you to focus on your recovery while your legal team handles your claim.

How to Protect Your Claim’s Value?

One of the keys to a successful personal injury claim is maintaining detailed and organized records regarding the accident. Your attorney will help you understand which documents and records are essential to your case and guide you in properly maintaining and storing them.

Keeping thorough records allows your lawyer to build a strong compensation case and ensures you have the necessary evidence to support your claim.

The records you should keep and provide to your legal team include:

  • Medical bills: Retain all medical bills, receipts, and records of your treatments and medications. You need to document the expenses associated with your injuries to calculate damages.
  • Repair costs: Maintain records of all costs and receipts concerning repairs to your vehicle or property. Make sure you include these expenses in your compensation claim.
  • Lost income: Document any time you missed work due to the accident and your injuries. You may need to obtain a statement from your employer verifying the time off and your usual rate of pay, which will serve as evidence of your lost income.
  • Other relevant documentation: Additional documentation may be necessary to support your claim in certain circumstances. Your attorney will help you identify and collect any required records.

Consider recording details about your accident and your resulting injuries in a journal. This is an effective way to retain and organize information pertinent to your claim, such as the frequency of your medical appointments, your daily pain levels, and the amount of time you miss from work.

Protect the value of your claim and exercise care when talking to:

  • The other driver or their insurance company: They may use your statements against you when determining fault or calculating damages.
  • Social media followers: Other parties may take your posts, photos, or comments out of context and use them to discredit your claim or portray your injuries as less severe than they are.
  • Anyone not directly involved in your case: Loose statements may find their way back to insurance adjusters or opposing counsel, potentially harming your claim.

Another way to protect the value of your claim is to comply with the treatment plan your doctor prescribes for you. This includes attending all scheduled appointments and taking medications the doctor determines will assist your recovery. Following your doctor’s treatment plan offers you the best opportunity for physical recovery and allows your attorney to prove you acted to mitigate your damages, which insurers look for when determining the value of a settlement offer.

Can You Afford a Car Accident Attorney?

Engage a car accident attorney when you suffer injuries in an accident due to someone else’s negligence. You can afford a lawyer.

Many people fail to obtain legal counsel because they don’t believe they can afford to pay for an attorney. Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute explains personal injury attorneys typically use a billing method known as a contingency fee to ensure their services are affordable for everyone who needs their assistance.

A personal injury lawyer will not make you pay any money upfront or bill you hourly for the legal team’s services. You sign a contingent fee contract with the attorney that outlines their services and specifies a certain percentage of the compensation will go to the firm.

Your attorney receives your award once the case concludes and places it into a trust. They then withdraw the specified percentage for their payment and pay any medical liens placed on the award. You receive the remaining compensation amount.

How Can an Attorney Can Assist You With Your Claim?

Robert W. Boatman - Experienced Car Accident Lawyer for Car Accident Cases in Phoenix, AZ area

Robert W. Boatman, Car Accident Attorney in Phoenix, AZ 

You can accident lawyer will:

  • Provide legal guidance: An experienced attorney understands the legal process and helps you navigate the complexities of personal injury law, maximizing your chances of a successful outcome.
  • Evaluate your case: A lawyer will assess the strength of your case and determine the best course of action to pursue compensation.
  • Negotiate on your behalf: Insurance companies often attempt to minimize payouts. An attorney negotiates on your behalf, ensuring you receive a fair settlement adequately compensating you for your injuries and damages.
  • Adhere to legal timelines: A lawyer will keep your case on track, meeting crucial deadlines and ensuring compliance with the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a court-enforced time limit for filing a lawsuit after a car accident. This period varies depending on the jurisdiction and the type of claim you are pursuing. It is important to understand the specific statute of limitations applicable to your case, as it directly impacts your ability to seek compensation for your injuries and damages.
  • Collect and preserve evidence: Your attorney will gather the necessary evidence to strengthen your case, such as medical records, witness statements, and accident scene documentation.
  • Handle communications: Your lawyer will manage all communications with the other party, their insurance company, and anyone else involved to safeguard the integrity of your case.
  • Evaluate settlement offers: An experienced attorney will analyze settlement offers to ensure they adequately compensate you for your injuries and damages and advise you on whether to accept or pursue further legal action.
  • Represent you in court: A lawyer represents you in court and advocates for a favorable verdict if your case goes to trial.

An experienced personal injury attorney in Phoenix guides you through the claim process, provides advocacy and support, and holds the at-fault driver accountable for their negligence.