5 Things To Do After a Car Accident
Car accident lawyers warn that what you do after an accident has an impact on your personal injury case. By law, you must remain at the accident scene and follow certain steps to obtain the information that the insurance company and your car accident attorney will ask for later on.
What you said and did after a car accident will be scrutinized during your personal injury claim, but if you gather the right documentation and take the right steps, you’re more likely to get the settlement you deserve. So whether you’re in a ride share, with friends and family, or on your own, here are the things you need to do.
By law, you must remain at the accident scene and check for any injured addiction victims. If you can, get out of your vehicle and check on the other driver and their passengers. Then check for any pedestrians or bikers that may have been injured as well. Dial 911 so that law enforcement can arrive and let the operator know if there are any injuries so they can send a team of paramedics to save lives.
You must exchange contact information with the other driver or injured victims, including your names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, auto insurance information, and driver’s licenses. You should also get information from witnesses since they will be useful later.
However, it’s not a good idea to keep talking after exchanging information. Car accidents can lead to heated arguments over fault, and anything you say can be used against you later on when you file your personal injury suit. Do not apologize for the accident nor cast blame.
When the police arrive, they will ask you to explain what happened so they can write a report. Simply state what you recall seeing and hearing leading up to the accident and what you felt during the accident, such as which direction you felt the impact.
Pictures are indisputable evidence of what happened and where. Take photos from a safe distance that show the entirety of the scene and take close-up photos that can show the details of the damage. Videos are very helpful in getting a panoramic view of where the accident happened. It’s also important to get the license plates and street names or signs in your photos.
Seek Medical Attention
One of the most important things you should do after a car accident is seek medical attention even if you don’t think you were injured. You should follow your doctor’s treatment plan and contact them immediately if there are any changes or new symptoms.
Some injuries don’t hurt until much later, such as whiplash. Other injuries can take a few hours before they turn into life-threatening situations, such as internal bleeding caused by burst capillaries from slamming into the seatbelt, dashboard, or seat in front of you.
The most common injuries after car accidents are
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Whiplash and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Ankle, wrist, knee, and other joint injuries
- Internal injuries
- Disfiguring facial injuries
- Limb loss and amputation
Contact a Lawyer After a Car Accident
Personal injury cases are rarely straightforward, but a personal injury attorney fights for you, advises you on your rights and conducts an investigation to prove negligence and liability. You should contact a car accident lawyer within a month of after a car accident, but if you haven’t yet, then there may still be time.
Each state has its own statute of limitations that sets the deadline for how long you have to file a personal injury claim. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for personal injury injuries is two years.