What To Do After An Accident
Accidents are always frightening. Regardless of what happened, your first reaction is most likely shock. Then, presuming you are conscious, your next immediate thought is your own well-being. You’ll take a mental check to determine what is injured.
Once you’ve started your medical care, and as the time passes and you’re able to concentrate, you will start to worry about your medical bills and lost income since you may be out of work for weeks or longer. You’ll wonder if your life will ever be the same.
In the moments following the accident, there are important things you can do to preserve your case. Here is a list of tips we have compiled over the years:
- Stay calm and check for injuries to yourself and your passengers.
- Call 911.
- Take photographs of the vehicles.
- Write down or text yourself the names and telephone numbers of witnesses.
- If you are able to do it, exchange driver’s license information, registration, and insurance information with the other driver.
- Wait for the police to arrive. If your car is blocking traffic or poses a hazard, try to leave it right where it sits until the police arrive. If you have to move it to a safer location, make sure you first video the position of the cars as they rested before you moved them.
- In a hit-and-run, be sure to immediately notify law enforcement and share as much detail as possible. You will need a police report to file an uninsured motorist claim.
- Do not refuse medical attention from EMTs at the scene or assume that you will just visit your own doctor the next day. Your declining medical care at this time can be used against you by a defendant’s insurer who will argue that your injuries were minor or that you fabricated them later.
- Photograph your visible injuries.
- Do not discuss any aspect of the accident with the other party or argue with them.
- Give as much information to the police as you can recall. If you are unsure, do not guess and just say that you do not recall at this time.
- Do not minimize your pain or injuries. If you are experiencing headaches, dizziness, back pain, or anything else out of the ordinary, be sure you tell the police officer.
- Do not talk to the other party’s insurer or an adjuster. Politely inform them that your attorney will contact them; don’t answer their questions.
- Make an appointment with your own physician, if you have one, as soon as possible. If you don’t have health insurance, you still should see a doctor.
- Let your own insurer know about the accident since many policies require “reasonable and timely” notification.
- Once you have been checked out by doctors, interview experienced personal injury lawyers who have a record of successfully handling similar accidents.
It is often difficult to recall details of the accident in the minutes or even hours after the accident. Once you have received medical assistance and are comfortable, it may help to write down what you do recall. Often, an attorney can ask the right questions that can flush out details that are not immediately apparent to you. No matter what, do not talk with the other driver’s insurance company as that will not help you.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
Finding the right Atlanta car accident attorney for your case is also extremely important. You will want an experienced personal injury lawyer who you can trust. Do your due diligence by researching law firms and lawyers who have handled similar cases. Ask about their trial experience, who will be handling your case, the staff who will be assisting, and what they charge.
Keep a Diary and Take Photos
Keeping a diary sometimes can be helpful in your case and can boost your memory. If you decide to start a diary about your injuries, you may want to include a list of your doctors, dates of your medical visits, your prescriptions, your activities for that day, and how you were feeling. If you were hospitalized, suffered a disfiguring injury, or had surgery, take photos of your injuries, and of any assistive medical devices, casts, or bandages that you used. Be careful not to write things in your diary that you do not want the insurance company “discovering” at a later date.
Receipts and Medical Bills
Your lawyer will order your medical records and bills from every doctor, medical professional, and hospital you treat at. Keep the medical bills that are sent to you and give them to your attorney. If a medical provider is pressuring you for payment that your health insurance company has not paid, let your lawyer know as soon as possible. In most instances, your lawyer should be able to get the health insurance company to pay the bill. In situations where you don’t have health insurance, a medical provider will treat you on a lien which means they will treat you and then get paid for their services once your case resolves.
Be assured that if you choose the right attorney, then your case will be handled professionally and with a minimum amount of worry on your part about the claim process and what you can expect. Your lawyer should advise you and educate you every step of the way.