Being involved in an automobile accident is a trying and emotional time. While there may be many different things going through your mind, it is important to do certain things while at the scene to protect your interests if you need to file a personal injury claim later on. The following is an outline of what to do at the accident scene and how personal injury law could help you obtain a settlement for your injuries. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an automobile accident, it is crucial to speak with a personal injury lawyer to learn what options are available to your and your family under the law.
Don’t Leave The Scene
While this may seem basic, some accident victims leave the scene right after an accident which can lead to a myriad of problems later on. It is important to remain at the accident scene until police arrive, even if you feel the accident was minor. Leaving the scene could turn a minor accident into criminal charges if someone is seriously injured or killed.
No matter how minor your injuries may seem, call 911 at the scene. An officer will come and obtain statements from all parties involved, making a report that may help prove your case later on if necessary. If you or the other driver is injured, a 911 operator will also dispatch emergency first responders to render aid and transport you to the hospital for treatment.
Check On The Other Injured Parties
While it is not advisable to move anyone right after an accident, you should check on the welfare of those involved. Only attempt to move someone when immediate peril such as fire exists. Be sure not to admit fault under any circumstance, as anything you say can and will be used against you later on in court.
Look For Eyewitnesses
At the scene, look for and identify all eyewitnesses if possible. Once you identify who saw the accident, ask for their contact information just in case your lawyer needs to call them to testify later on at trial.
Ask For Information Of All Involved Drivers
Once you have done all of the above, ask all of the drivers involved for their contact information at the accident scene. Some information that can help you later are driver license numbers, insurance information, license plate numbers, phone numbers and addresses.
Take Photographs At The Scene
A picture speaks a thousand words and that is especially true after an accident. Be sure to take pictures of all of the vehicles involved before they are moved if possible. In addition, take several photographs that show how extensive your physical injuries are just in case you need to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for your medical bills and expenses.
Call Your Car Insurance Company
It is important to report the accident to your car insurance company at the scene if possible. While the other driver’s insurance may end up paying for your bills, most companies require you to report an accident in a short period of time. Always be truthful when reporting the details of the accident. You may have problems later on if you lie to obtain compensation.
When To Speak With A Lawyer
While your accident may be easy to resolve, there are certain instances in which you may need to hire a lawyer. Some signs you need to do so are:
- The Insurance Company Refuses To Pay
- Your Injuries Are Serious
- You Need Ongoing Medical Care
- You Cannot Work
- You Are Disabled Due To The Accident
It is important to keep these things in mind if you are involved in an accident. Doing so may give you the best chance of obtaining a fair settlement for your injuries after an accident. Contact an experienced lawyer to learn all of your options under the law and how you can seek a monetary settlement to cover your accident related expenses and medical bills. Making the decision to hire a lawyer can reduce the anxiety associated with every personal injury case, so you can concentrate on recovering.