When involved in an accident where injuries occur, your immediate steps are crucial. Here’s a concise guide on what to do:
- Check for injuries: Assess yourself and passengers for injuries immediately and dial 911 if medical attention is needed.
- Move to safety: Exit the roadway and your vehicle to avoid further danger. Stay on the sidewalk or a safe distance from traffic.
- Report the incident: Have the police document the event and secure a copy of their report for your records.
- Gather evidence: Collect your own evidence, including time, location, weather conditions, and details of the incident. Document everything said and by whom, obtain license plate information, and take photos of all damages and insurance details.
- Record injuries: Seek medical attention promptly and ensure that every detail about the injury’s nature, treatment, and prognosis is documented, including any prescribed medications.
- Document ongoing issues: Keep records if you have to make additional medical visits, documenting any scarring, disabilities, and pain management, along with the risk of future complications.
- Understand medical expense coverage: Know that health insurance generally covers medical costs, but auto insurance may also contribute through “Med-Pay” or “PIP” coverage, regardless of fault.
- Managing costs: Initially, your insurance or you may bear the medical costs, but the at-fault driver’s insurance might reimburse you following a settlement or court judgment.
- Continue evidence collection: Secure comprehensive medical records, document all impacts of your injuries, including on work and personal relationships, and continually photograph or record your recovery progress.
- Legal advice for payment arrangements: If needed, an adept personal injury attorney can aid in negotiating manageable payments for your medical care until a settlement is reached.
- Preserve your claim: It’s vital not to admit fault or sign any documents without legal advice.
- Insurance notification: Inform your insurance company about the accident promptly.
- Consult an attorney: To navigate the legalities and ensure proper compensation, find a seasoned personal injury lawyer who offers free initial consultations and works on a contingency basis, meaning they only charge if they win your case.
Remember, legal expertise can make a significant difference in the aftermath of an accident, helping to ensure you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.