Click Here If You’ve Suffered Health Issues Due To Water Contamination

What to Do After a Car Accident

January 25, 2024

By Thomas McCutcheon

As the injured survivor of a car accident, you may have significant legal rights to receive compensation. You can protect your rights and interests and enhance your chances of fair compensation while avoiding anything that may undermine them.

Here is a review of the crucial steps most car accident survivors should take to ensure they have a full and fair opportunity to hold at-fault parties and insurance companies accountable. To learn more about your rights when a crash leaves you or a loved one with an injury, call an experienced car accident lawyer today.

Two Steps You Should Take Immediately After the Accident

Navigating the aftermath of a car accident can feel chaotic and bewildering. To safeguard your rights and interests, however, undertake the following crucial steps as soon as possible:

Seek Appropriate Medical Care

Male and female drivers making phone calls after dangerous car collision.

Seek medical care directly after a car accident, even if you feel you’ve escaped without a scratch or your injuries seem minor. Some common car accident injuries, such as whiplash or concussion, may not display symptoms immediately but may cause you long-term damage if you don’t address them swiftly.

An early medical examination can ensure your health and safety and also generate important evidence—in the form of medical records—for your lawyer to use in pursuing a claim for compensation. 

Report the Accident to the Local Police

Under state law, you usually have a legal obligation to report an accident to the local police when you suffer injuries in it. Regardless of those duties, alerting the police to the accident is the right thing to do.

It creates a written record of the known facts and the circumstances of what happened before they fade from memory or become unavailable. The police investigation will also gather evidence that you can use to pursue a claim for damages.

Follow Your Doctor’s Orders

The next crucial step is to follow your doctor’s orders as diligently as possible. Ensuring that you make every reasonable effort to recover, both physically and emotionally, is critical in safeguarding your health and legal rights.

If your doctor prepares a treatment plan for you, it’s important to follow it. Attend your follow-up appointments, take your medication, and stay consistent with physical therapy.

Failure to follow your treatment plan may count against you. If you don’t appear to try to recover from your injuries, it may reduce your chances of getting fair compensation.

Your doctor may advise you to refrain from certain activities that could aggravate your injuries, such as lifting heavy items or strenuous exercise. Heed this advice. Activities that exacerbate your condition put your health at risk, allowing insurance companies and defense lawyers to argue that you deserve blame for the severity of your injuries.

Notify Your Insurance Company

You may carry insurance that covers some of the costs of recovering from your car accident. Your auto insurance policy might, for example, cover damage to your vehicle, and a health insurance or long-term disability policy might pay some of your medical expenses.

You’re likely to have an obligation under the terms of these policies to notify your insurers promptly of the accident and its potential to lead to a claim.

When speaking with your insurance company, stick to the facts of the accident. Avoid offering your opinions about who was at fault or making any comments where you may appear to accept blame for what happened. Provide the truth but don’t volunteer unnecessary information.

Insurance companies want to minimize their expenses. They may use anything you say against you in an attempt to limit the amount they have to pay out in claims.

If you’re uncertain about your coverage or obligations under an insurance policy you’ve paid for, seek the advice of a knowledgeable car accident lawyer who can explain your rights and responsibilities. Lawyers know the coverage of most insurance policies and the conditions you need to meet to ensure prompt and full payment.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Immediately

Engaging the services of a seasoned car accident lawyer as soon as possible can significantly improve your chances of receiving fair compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. Most car accident lawyers offer free initial consultations, providing an opportunity for you to understand your legal rights and potential options without any financial commitment.

A lawyer can identify at-fault parties who may owe you compensation, analyze insurance coverages, evaluate damages, and gather evidence to support your claim. Evidence and memories can disappear over time, so rapid action can significantly strengthen your case. A lawyer can meet critical deadlines, such as the statute of limitations, to protect you from inadvertently forfeiting your rights.

Another considerable advantage of hiring a lawyer promptly is that they can handle all communications with insurance companies on your behalf. This relieves you of the stress and potential pitfalls of interacting with insurance adjusters who are intent on finding reasons to limit how much money you receive from them.

Hiring a lawyer is affordable, so you don’t need to worry. Car accident attorneys represent accident survivors on a contingent fee basis, so you only pay them if they secure compensation for you. You don’t have to make upfront payments, and they don’t bill you by the hour. No matter what your financial circumstances, you can hire a skilled car accident lawyer to handle your claim.

Save Evidence for a Lawyer To Review

After a car accident, you may find yourself inundated with paperwork, such as police reports, medical records, and repair receipts. Keep all these documents safe, and don’t throw anything away.

These records may provide critical information about the accident, your injuries, and costs associated with them, constituting essential evidence in a claim a lawyer files on your behalf.

Your attorney may also advise you to engage a forensic expert to inspect your car before repairing the damage. Your vehicle’s post-accident condition may constitute significant evidence of who is liable for your injuries.

Things You Need To Do After a Car Accident

Over six million car accidents occur each year in the United States. Fortunately, most of them involve only property damage (damage to the vehicle as opposed to the occupants). But one in three accidents involve personal injury to the driver or passengers and out of that number, two out of every ten accidents lead to fatal injuries.

If you are involved in an automobile accident, there are certain things you can do to protect yourself and your interests. The following is a list of the things you should do if you are in an automobile accident.

Make sure to call law enforcement and have a report made. It is important to call police to an accident once it has occurred. The police officer will do a preliminary investigation, examine the scene, interview the parties and any witnesses, as well as provide a determination as to who was at fault. An accident report sets forth who was at fault and is the single most persuasive piece of evidence proving liability. It is difficult to make an insurance claim without one.

Obtain witness contact information. If there are witnesses to the accident, you should obtain their contact information.

Seek medical treatment. If you believe you have been injured in the accident, you should receive medical treatment immediately or as soon as possible. The longer you wait to receive medical treatment, the more likely the insurance company will argue that you were not hurt as a result of the accident. This is the defense that the insurance companies raise most often.

Do not give statements to an insurance company. Never give a statement to an insurance company following an accident (not even your own). Insurance companies will seek to obtain a statement that they can use later against you when you are seeking compensation for your injuries. You should notify your insurance company that the accident occurred, but you should tell them that you do not want to give any statement until you have consulted an attorney.

Complete your medical treatment. It is important to follow through with all prescribed medical treatment following an accident. If you do not complete your treatment, the insurance company will argue that you are not injured to the extent that you claim. Keep up with your copays and out of pocket expenses.

Buckle up, drive safely, and as always, your referrals are appreciated! 256-764-0112

What Not to Do After a Car Accident

Avoiding certain actions and behaviors is just as important as taking the right steps after a car accident. Some actions may seem harmless or instinctual but can have adverse consequences for your case and potential compensation.

In the aftermath of a car accident, a liability insurance company may contact you directly with an offer to settle the potential claim you have against their policyholder. While you may appreciate their swift action, particularly during a financially challenging time, it’s advisable to avoid accepting any offer until you’ve spoken with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer.

Their settlement offer is unlikely to pay you the amount you deserve or have the right to receive. A skilled attorney can realistically assess the value of a potential damages claim against the at-fault party, negotiate on your behalf, and strive to secure a settlement that fully covers your injury-related costs.

Avoid Posting About the Accident on Social Media

While it may seem natural to share your experiences and seek support on social media, doing so after a car accident can harm your case. Insurers and legal teams can access public posts and misconstrue your words or pictures.

They may use them to support arguments questioning the severity of your injuries or shifting blame for the crash onto you, justifying a reduction or denial of your claims. To protect your rights, keep all aspects of your accident and subsequent recovery private from social media during the legal process.

Don’t Give Up on Seeking Compensation if You Blame Yourself for the Accident

Playing a role in causing an accident doesn’t automatically disqualify you from seeking compensation. You may still have a substantial claim for damages even if your actions were partially to blame for what happened.

Car accident victims frequently blame themselves unnecessarily, but their feelings of guilt aren’t always justifiable. Don’t assume that you know who or what caused your crash. Seek the advice of a skilled car accident lawyer who can objectively review the facts, advise you about your rights and options, and build a case for compensation on your behalf.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Aftermath of a Car Accident

You must speak with an experienced car accident lawyer to discuss your specific situation, but here are the answers to some common questions car accident survivors ask about their rights and the legal process in the wake of a car accident:

Do I Have to Accept the Conclusions a Police Accident Report Makes About Who Was at Fault?

A police accident report can be an important document, but it isn’t the final say on who is at fault for a crash and doesn’t count as evidence in court.

It’s just one perspective among many about how an accident occurred. If a police report contains mistakes, a skilled lawyer can gather additional evidence to correct the record and protect your rights.

What Types of Compensation Can I Get?

The compensation you can recover after a car accident depends on the specifics of your situation and the losses you’ve incurred. Car accident survivors can typically seek payment for damages, such as medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and property damage. 

Some cases may include additional damages, for example, punitive damages to punish particularly egregious behavior by the at-fault party. The amount of compensation will usually depend on factors such as the severity of your injuries, the strength of your case, your lawyer’s skill and reputation, and the financial resources the at-fault parties have to pay your losses.

How Long Will It Take to Receive Payment?

The timeline for receiving payment—assuming one materializes—can vary significantly depending on the specifics of the case, such as the claim’s complexity, the number of parties involved, their willingness to negotiate a settlement, and the volume of evidence to gather and analyze. An experienced car accident lawyer will, however, make every effort to steer your case toward a swift and favorable resolution.

Call an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Today

Florence Car Accident Attorney
Joel R. Hamner, Car Accident Lawyer

Navigating the aftermath of a car accident is a daunting task that no one wants to face. The steps you take immediately after your accident, such as seeking medical attention and securing the services of an experienced lawyer, can significantly influence the compensation you receive for your injuries and damages.

The prompt involvement of a seasoned attorney in your case can expedite the legal process and protect your rights so that you can obtain the maximum compensation as efficiently as possible. Call an experienced personal injury attorney today for a free case evaluation.

Let Us Fight For You

Your Recovery Is Our Priority

Why Hire Us?