The world changes in an instant when you have been injured in a car accident. If you are seriously hurt, there may not be much you can do in the immediate aftermath. If you are conscious and able to move, there are critical things to do at the accident scene and later.
One of the first things to do after a car accident injury involves contacting a Lafayette personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Call the Police
Always call the police after a car accident, even if it appears to be only a minor fender bender. Insurance companies expect a police report after a motor vehicle accident. Tell the police officer at the scene what happened. Even if you do not think you are injured at the time, tell the officer you do not know if you are injured rather than stating that you are uninjured.
Document the Scene
If physically able, document the accident scene with your smartphone. Take photos and videos of all the vehicles involved, the injured parties, and the current conditions. That might mean taking photos of the roadway and any tire or skid marks, as well as any road signage, potholes, and anything that may have some bearing on the crash.
Get the contact information, as well the license number and insurance information, of the other driver. Also, get the contact information for any witnesses to the collision. If possible, record the witnesses’ versions of the crash, or write down what they have to say. Record or write down your own memory of the accident immediately, in as much detail as you can.
Take note of weather conditions, any visibility impairments, the direction each vehicle was traveling at the time, and other relevant factors relating to the accident.
While at the scene, put up flares or put your car’s flashers on to warn passing motorists. Do not move your car unless it is blocking traffic, and wait until the police have arrived and made a report before moving the vehicle.
Seek Immediate Medical Treatment
If you are seriously injured, it is likely that an ambulance will take you to the nearest emergency room. However, sometimes accident victims do not initially think they were badly hurt, or maybe do not even realize they were injured at all. The adrenaline response after an accident can keep pain at bay for a while. Symptoms of common car accident injuries, such as whiplash, may not appear for up to 48 hours.
Failure to seek prompt medical treatment, at least within 24 hours of the accident, can harm your case. The other driver’s insurance company may argue that you were not really injured badly, or even that your injuries occurred due to a cause other than the accident.
Call Your Insurance Company
You must notify your insurance company after the accident. Give your insurer basic information such as the date, time, and location of the accident, and the contact and insurance information of the other driver. Do not address the fault issue with your insurer.
Remain as Calm as Possible
Car accidents can bring out the worst in people. In addition to pain from your injury, you may feel anger and other strong negative emotions. Try to remain calm, and avoid getting into an argument with the other driver or anyone else on the accident scene.
What Not to Do After a Car Accident
Just as crucial as what you should do after a car accident is what you should not do. First, never admit fault in the accident, even if you suspect you were responsible. It is possible that an event or circumstance unknown to you contributed to the crash.
Never try to negotiate a settlement with the other driver’s insurance company before receiving legal counsel from a personal injury lawyer attorney. Even if a settlement agreement appears generous, keep in mind that an insurer wants to settle a claim for as little as possible. An attorney knows the amount of money you will require based on your injuries and prognosis and will negotiate a fair settlement with the insurer.
Contact Lafayette Car Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident because of the actions or inactions of another driver, you need the services of the experienced Lafayette car accident attorneys at Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers. Call us 24/7 to arrange a free consultation or contact us online. A dedicated car accident lawyer will review your case and advise you of your options. There is never a fee unless we win. While most cases are settled, we do not hesitate to go to trial when necessary.