Automobile accidents are quite common. Most of them are minor-fender benders that result in little more than a scratched bumper and a bad morning because you had to be late to work. Some accidents are much more serious. Some might result in immediate, devastating injuries, while others might cause serious problems that are not obvious right away. You could walk away from the accident feeling fine, and you could discover later that you have a traumatic brain injury or that you have serious internal bleeding that has compromised several of your organs.
If you are injured in an accident and that accident is someone else’s fault, the law says you can be compensated for problems and financial difficulties that arise as you care for your injury. Your compensation should cover the costs of your current and future medical care (related to the injuries from the accident), time you’ve lost from work, income you will lose because of your diminished capacity to work, and more. But if you don’t take the appropriate steps after your accident, you may undermine your ability to get the full settlement to which you are entitled.
Here’s what you need to do if you are involved in an automobile accident you believe to be caused by another person:
Tend to Any Immediate Injuries
As soon as you come to a stop, the first thing you need to do is assess yourself and your passengers to determine if anyone is injured and needs immediate assistance. This would be the time that you put pressure on any wounds to stop any bleeding or you create a makeshift sling to stabilize an arm that feels broken. If everyone in your vehicle seems OK, you should get out and check on the passengers in the other vehicles to see if they need any immediate assistance.
Your first goal after an accident should not be to place blame. Instead, you should be focused on making sure that everyone is OK.
Call for Help
Even if you think that everyone is fine and the accident is no big deal, you should always call for help. The police will be able to document the accident and take pictures that can be used as evidence. Medical professionals can also assess everyone on the scene to make sure that there are no troublesome symptoms. Again, a person could have serious injuries and still seem “fine.”
Remain calm and cordial when the authorities arrive. Resist the urge to argue or to point fingers. Give the officers the facts, and avoid making inflammatory statements. Do not admit any wrongdoing of your own. Any statements you make could be used against you later.
Call an Attorney
The sooner you call an attorney, the better your chances will be of building a strong case to collect compensation for your injuries. Your attorney will advise you on your legal rights, let you know what to expect in terms of compensation, and help you start putting together the evidence needed in your case. Your attorney will also give you advice on what to say, what not to say, which medical specialists to see, and so on, to strengthen your case.
Always call an attorney who is local to your area. So if you are in an accident in New York, call an attorney not just in New York but in the specific borough in which the accident took place. If you are in the Bronx, call a Bronx personal injury lawyer, not a Long Island lawyer. You’ll benefit from that attorney’s knowledge of the local judicial system and the contacts that the firm has established. It will also be easier for you to meet with and speak to your attorney if you are both in the same spot.
Getting into an accident is stressful enough. If you are injured, it can be even more devastating. Knowing what to do after your accident can help you to get the compensation you need for your injuries, ensuring that your future is protected. Whether you are on a road trip or you are just commuting to work, don’t let an accident take you by surprise. Make sure that you’re prepared and that you have the number of a good attorney on hand.