Over 3 million people are injured in car accidents in the US every year, two-thirds of which are permanent. This can change your quality of life, affect your ability to earn an income, and lead to exorbitant medical bills.
If you were injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver, you don’t have to deal with the financial repercussions on your own. However, it is important to take the proper steps as soon as possible.
How do you juggle your medical treatment and file a personal injury claim after a car accident? In what order should you complete those steps?
Read on to learn everything you can and should do after getting injured in a car accident.
1. Seek Medical Attention
The most important thing you need to do in the immediate aftermath of a car accident is to seek medical attention. If your injuries are serious and you cannot get to a hospital in a safe manner, you may need to call an ambulance.
Oftentimes, people who have gotten into a car accident are unaware of their injuries in the first few hours or even days. Shock and adrenaline tend to take over, numbing you to the physical effects. Even if you don’t see evidence of an injury, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
2. Document the Evidence
Make sure that you document the evidence of the accident and your injuries as thoroughly as possible.
At the scene of the accident, it is beneficial to take photos of your car and any damage. You should also try to take pictures of the position of the other car and any identifying features of the location, including street signs. The more you can accurately recreate the scene of the accident, the better.
In addition, take photos or videos of your injuries. Make sure to receive copies of your medical records pertaining to the accident as well as records of your medical expenses.
3. File a Police Report
If possible, call the police to the scene of the accident. A police report may be useful evidence when you are filing a personal injury claim and establishing negligence on the part of the other driver.
Even if you do not call the police to the scene of the accident, you should still file a police report. Each state has different statutes of limitations on filing a police report for a car accident, although most are around 72 hours.
4. Deal With the Insurance Companies
Contact your own insurance company and explain what happened during the accident. Some insurance companies will cover some of the costs of car repairs or medical bills even if you were not at fault.
It is likely that you will be contacted by the other driver’s insurance company, especially if you are filing a personal injury claim against them. Do not give them any information without an attorney present. Do not accept any form of payment without an attorney present, either.
If the other driver’s insurance company sends you paperwork, don’t sign anything until your attorney has gone over it. The insurance company will request a copy of your medical record, but some do so in an underhanded way. You do not want to unintentionally sign over your entire medical history, or they may try to find evidence that you have an underlying condition that caused your injury.
5. Consider Follow-Up Medical Attention
If you are filing a personal injury claim, it’s important to understand what compensation you deserve. Settlements typically cover medical bills, property damage, and lost income (which refers to the money you were unable to make due to your injuries). However, if you are going to need long-term medical treatment, you will want to include the estimated cost of said treatment in your claim.
Receiving compensation for future medical bills can be tricky. In order to legitimize your claim, you will need expert testimony from a medical practitioner about the trajectory of your physical health. Receiving follow-up medical care is the best way to secure that testimony.
Plus, if you are not doing everything in your power to recover, it is easier for your claim to get thrown out. Make sure that you understand what kind of treatment you need and follow your doctors’ advice throughout the entire claims process.
6. Hire an Attorney
If you plan to file a personal injury claim, you’re going to need to hire an attorney. All insurance companies have a team of experienced legal professionals who are adept at spinning a case against them. Without having legal professionals in your corner, your chances of receiving compensation are slim.
When looking for an attorney, make sure that you specifically seek out auto accident lawyers. You want to work with someone who is experienced in cases like yours, has a good reputation, and has the track record to back it up.
Although this is the last step on our list, you’re going to want to hire an attorney as soon as possible. From the moment you know the extent of your injuries and want to file a claim, contact an attorney. Ask for a consultation and find out whether or not you have a case before signing any contracts.
Get the Care You Deserve If You Were Injured in a Car Accident
Car accidents happen far too often and millions of people suffer the consequences each year. If you were injured in a car accident, don’t take on the financial burden of repairs and medical treatment on your own. Follow these steps so that you can get the care you need and the compensation you deserve.
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