There are an estimated six million car accidents in the U.S. each year. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, about 1.35 million people die in vehicle crashes each year and approximately 20 to 50 million suffer non-fatal injuries that often result in lifelong disabilities.
Even minor car accidents can be emotionally-draining, especially when you’re not sure how to handle the aftermath of a collision. If you are involved in an auto accident that was not your fault, it is important to handle the situation with a clear head to ensure the best possible outcome.
Immediately Call 911
Never rely on another person to call 911 following a car accident. If you are physically able, immediately call 911 and ask for emergency responders to the scene. Even if you are not sure if you’re really injured, get yourself checked out by a medical professional.
If your injuries are severe or if you are in pain, wait for the ambulance to arrive and go directly to the hospital to get examined. Be sure to describe your injuries, where your pain is located, and the level of pain that you are experiencing. This information can be important later on if you need proof of your injuries for a legal claim.
While you may not want to accept medical attention after a car accident, always take the help of a first responder. Individuals recovering from an auto accident may feel fine initially due to a spike in adrenaline but may start to feel pain soon after or may even go into shock.
Sometimes, injuries from a car accident may not be visible. If organ damage or internal bleeding is not promptly treated, it can lead to long-term disabilities and even death.
A visit to the hospital is essential to ensure that you are not suffering from any internal injuries that could prove lethal and to obtain valuable documentation of injuries.
Collect Evidence at the Accident Site
If you are seriously injured after a car accident, try to hold still until help arrives. If you are able to get out of the vehicle and walk, try to collect as much information as possible or have an uninjured passenger or bystander do it for you.
Take pictures of the accident scene, as well as the vehicles involved in the accident. It can be helpful to use the recording function on your phone to record yourself speaking about the details of the accident so that you don’t forget later.
If there are witnesses to the accident, ask for their name and phone number as their testimony could be used as evidence in a suit. You will also want to collect information from the other driver or drivers involved in the accident. Never assume that the driver responsible for the accident will report the accident to their insurer.
While leaving the scene of a car accident is a felony crime, it can only be proven if there is evidence to the crime. Therefore, you will want to collect important information such as the driver’s full name, address, and telephone number. Also ask for the driver’s insurance company name and their policy number.
If the other driver is not cooperating with your requests or you want an additional source of evidence that the car accident did occur, call the police and they will write a statement.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Even if you were not at fault for the auto accident, you will want to make a phone call to your auto insurance company soon after the accident. Not all auto accidents are cut and dried and the other driver may disagree about who is really at fault.
If the other driver’s insurance company denies responsibility for the accident, your own insurance company may be forced to process a collision claim for your vehicle or launch a legal challenge against the insurer. By informing your insurance company about the accident early on, you can give your insurer time to collect information that may prove helpful to your case.
Speak with an Attorney
If you were injured during a car accident and it was not your fault, reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can explain your legal options and provide advice about your unique case.
With this information, you can choose whether to proceed with your case or take another course of action.
Some of the most common damages that a car accident victim can typically claim include:
- Medical Expenses – This includes medical bills, doctor visits, surgeries, prescription medications, tests, and rehabilitation.
- Vehicle Damage – If the car was damaged in the accident, you can claim these damages in a lawsuit. This includes a totaled vehicle.
- Lost Income – If you are forced to take time off of work due to your injuries, you can claim lost wages.
- Pain and Suffering – Pain and suffering, as well as other non-financial losses, are often included in a personal injury lawsuit.
Get Help If You’ve Been Injured in an Accident
If you have been involved in a car accident and need legal advice about how to handle the aftermath of the incident, speak with personal injury attorney Jared Everton at JacksonWhite Law today.
Call our Personal Injury team at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.