Car accidents are extremely common, in fact, they happen every 60 seconds in the United States. If you’re ever been injured in a car accident, first, if necessary, alert 911 in order to get immediate medical attention, and then remember these points so that you don’t make a mistake that could cost you a settlement down the road.
- Don’t move your car or allow the other driver to move his or her car. If the other driver indicates that they plan to move his or her car before the police arrive, take as many pictures as you can with the vehicles in their “accident” positions.
- In fact, take pictures of the accident scene (including the surrounding area such as the intersection, street conditions, and traffic lights), damage to your car, and any physical injuries that can be recorded such as bruising, abrasions, and blood. Take pictures of any signs of physical injury whenever they appear, even hours or days later.
- Do not leave the scene without a police report and contact information for any available witnesses.
- When the police arrive, or if you speak to the other driver, if you’re asked about injuries, do not say you are uninjured. Shock or adrenaline can mask the effects of an injury, making you feel normal when in fact you’re seriously hurt. Instead, reply that you would like to be examined by a doctor as soon as possible and request transportation to the ER.
- Take note of any unusual behavior on the part of the other driver such as acting intoxicated, appearing distracted or using their cell phone while driving, or anything out of the ordinary. Report this to the police officer on the scene.Have the car towed to a location of your choice for repair or your home. Often an insurance company won’t inspect a damaged car immediately and you may end up with hefty storage fees while you wait for their report.
- Even if you don’t take a trip to the ER after the accident, be sure to see a doctor right away. Tell your doctor about every physical ailment that is different or painful, or any unusual behaviors you’ve experienced since the accident, such as the need to sleep for long periods at strange times of the day. Anything that you don’t tell your doctor, or that doesn’t make it into her notes, can’t be used on your behalf when seeking damages.
- Keep a record of any doctor appointments you go to as a result of the accident, and keep a journal of any ailments that cause loss of normal brain or body function. Do not miss doctor appointments, as a gap in treatment can hurt your case. If you can’t work because of your accident, make a note of that as well, indicating the length of time you are forced to miss work and the exact reasons. Also remember that in order to collect lost wagers, a doctor must give you written instructions or explanation for why you should not perform your job as you normally would.
- Tell your family about your difficulties that result from the accident. They can be fantastic witnesses for your changed lifestyle and your loss of enjoyment of life, for which you may be compensated.
- Seek the help of an experienced attorney. You’ll fair much better pursuing compensation for pain and suffering with professional help.
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