Very few occurrences in life can create the anxiety of an automobile accident. Fatalities occur far too often when collisions occur, and those involved often just feel lucky to have survived. It is vital for those who are still mobile to act quickly and responsibly when auto accidents occur because they may be the only resource between life and death for those seriously injured or trapped in a vehicle. It is usually imperative for first responders and rescue teams to arrive as soon as possible. Regardless of the scenario, it is always vital for those involved to remember there are legal requirements as well as common sense steps that should be taken by individuals who can help, including calling a car accident lawyer.
Accident Scene Responsibilities
All states require everyone involved in an accident to remain at the scene until authorities arrive when anyone has been injured or vehicles are damaged beyond the capacity to be driven away. Law enforcement officers will also want to inspect the accident scene and discuss the wreck with those involved, potentially including those who witnessed the crash. Fulfilling legal requirements following an accident is important, and leaving the scene before authorities arrive is actually a criminal issue.
Document the Accident
It is always a good decision to document the crash when possible immediately after contacting 911 emergency assistance. Affected parties can take pictures or even record video while the officers and emergency medical technicians are in route. Even photos of black marks on the highway can matter, and some evidence can evaporate quickly. In addition, actions by other drivers can be an issue as well because all parties do not remain calm following a wreck. An example would be taking a photograph of a fleeing driver’s license plate when they are attempting a hit-and-run. Some collisions are accidental, and others may be the result of intentional actions by angered drivers. It is also important to remember the photos are personal property, and they should be protected until speaking with an experienced auto accident law firm representative.
Responding to a Police Investigation
Fault is central to all serious auto accidents. Police officers will be asking questions about the collision, and the answers commonly make their way to the official accident report. Always be specific when discussing the accident with a police officer, including refraining from answering until after discussing the crash with an attorney if necessary. Embellished answers can be used by respondent insurance providers in any attempt to lessen total damages even in obvious cases of fault because all drivers are assessed for comparative fault when the case is being settled, and especially if the case goes to a full trial.
Seek Medical Treatment
Individuals who are still mobile following an accident often think they are not injured, subsequently not seeking medical attention. This is a bad decision, as even emotional distress following the fact can be part of a personal injury claim. Hesitating to seek medical evaluation can be used by respondent insurance companies as a defense that your injuries are not as serious as being claimed. In addition, internal injuries can occur and not manifest until later, such as an injured back or internal bleeding. Being properly compensated for injuries can often depend on prompt medical treatment, and it is always better to be safe rather than sorry. Go to the nearest medical treatment center as soon as possible regardless of the apparent extent of injury.
Assemble All Pertinent Documentation
It is important to pick up a personal copy of the accident report as soon as it is available as well as compiling documentation such as medical bills and doctors statements. These will be excellent information when a car injury attorney evaluates the accident for potential financial compensation. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as you can acquire these records because the attorney will typically want to conduct an immediate investigation into the accident that is beneficial to your claim. Accidents involving multiple vehicles can be particularly complex because multiple drivers also means multiple insurance companies trying to deflect fault away from their client. Documentation can matter, including doctor prognosis, and making all medical appointments is vital for a whole damage settlement.
Contact a Car Injury Attorney
It is always best to contact an auto accident law firm as soon as possible following a wreck so they can begin an investigation promptly. Your attorney can inspect the official accident report for errors or potential erroneous statements as well as question officers who worked the case and were on the scene. Memories can fade quickly, and many police departments do not have the resources to conduct in depth investigations. The findings of the accident reconstruction specialist is not always exact either, and insurance company claims adjusters are well-known for contacting authorities as soon as possible if not showing up at the scene during the reconstruction investigation.
Make All Medical Appointments
Many injured accident victims do not understand how vital it is to meet all scheduled medical appointments and rehabilitation treatment sessions. Difficulties in rehabbing an injury are often a solid enhancement to a claim value. In addition, insurance providers can request the medical appointment schedule and use it as a defense when claiming the injury is being exaggerated. Emotional distress is also a component of many accident claims, so meeting all mental health appointments is necessary as well. Accident victims regularly relive the mishap for the remainder of their life, which can result in serious ongoing mental anguish. This is especially true when fatal injuries are suffered by friends or family members. The long-term impact of the accident in all aspects in a component of the general damages portion of a settlement for pain-and-suffering, and medical appointment attendance records can be used against the claimant as a defense in an attempt to lessen a claim value.
Always remember that how you respond following an accident can be the difference between being properly compensated for all damages or potentially receiving very little in the way of financial settlement. Auto insurance companies deal with accident claims on a daily basis, and the claims adjusters are obligated to the company and their client first. Your focus on full recovery can make a major difference in case settlement just as the car accident lawyer you choose. Always select an auto accident law firm with a solid track record of results for their injured clients, and always adhere to the recommendations of both your attorney and your medical professionals who can impact your claim.