If you get injured in a car accident, you don’t want to be the one paying for it. Besides, you’re already paying with your health. The driver who is at fault for the accident should be the one to pay for any damage and medical expenses.
However, it can be hard to know what to do after a car accident injury. When do you get medical treatment? When do you file a claim? Do you need a lawyer?
But don’t worry. We’re here to walk you through exactly what to do after a car accident injury so that you can stop worrying and get back to living your life.
This may seem obvious but it’s still important to note. No matter who’s to blame for the car accident or how minor the damage, you are legally required to stop.
Pull over the vehicles (if the accident isn’t serious) and take a moment to calm yourself. It can be shocking to be in a car accident. Then, continue with the next what to do after a car accident injury steps.
The first thing to do after a vehicle accident is to dial 911. Tell the dispatcher your location and whether the scene is dangerous to other drivers or pedestrians.
If you have any injuries at all, report them so the dispatcher can send help. If you are seriously injured and cannot call yourself, have someone nearby call for you and explain the injuries.
It is the law that the police must be called and attend the scene of a car accident despite how minor it may be. Do not let anyone talk you out of calling 911. It is important to obtain a police report of the accident and injuries in order to build your personal injury insurance claim.
If you’re not seriously hurt, be sure to record what happened. Immediately voice record or write down what you remember. Most phones have voice recorders automatically downloaded.
If you can, take photos of the damage to the vehicles, the location of the vehicles, and the injuries. Photo documentation can be an important game changer in proving the other driver was at fault with the accident. It can show the direction the vehicle was going and analysists can even detect speed.
Be sure to send the photos to an email and/or a cloud storage database so you have extra copies in case something happens to your phone.
Get Medical Treatment
Don’t wait to get medical treatment, and don’t refuse to be treated at the scene. Emergency responders should be aware of any pain or symptoms you are experiencing so ample record can be documented. Plus, medical treatment is necessary to asses whether you may have serious internal injuries like internal bleeding or a concussion.
If you don’t have serious injuries and are released to go home, be sure to schedule an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. The longer you wait to see a doctor the less credibility you will have when filing a personal injury claim.
A trained physician will be able to assess your injuries and symptoms and place them in your health file. Make sure they note your accident injuries thoroughly and take a copy of the assessment home with you.
You should also keep receipts of medications and any co-pays you had to pay out of pocket. If your regular doctor isn’t available, go to urgent care or the emergency room.
Don’t skip this step. This is the most important step in what to do after a car accident injury. The insurance company will not take your claim seriously if you do.
If you’re not seriously injured and do not need to go to the hospital immediately, this is the time to gather vital information from the other driver.
The police will help moderate the information exchange and document the information, too. The most important things capture include:
- The other driver’s name, phone number, address, and email address
- The other driver’s insurance information, including the company and policy number
- Make, model, year, and license plate number of the other vehicle(s)
- The name, address, and phone number of any other passengers
- The name, phone number, and address of any witnesses
Rember, though, only the other driver is legally mandated to provide their contact information.
Notify Your Insurance Agent
Many insurance companies have a notification policy that states you must notify them of any accidents you are in (whether you’re at fault or not).
Even if your company doesn’t have this, it’s a smart thing to do. Notifying your insurance company can help you with any immediate coverage benefits you may need such as a rental car or car repair reimbursements.
Plus, notification helps you protect yourself by immediately documenting your side of the story with the insurance agency. And, your insurance company can be prepared to hear from the other driver’s agent.
Submit Your Claim
If you’re in a no-fault state or have personal injury protection/medical coverage with your insurance, you should file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. Your insurance company will pay you no matter who/what was at fault for your injury.
If the other driver was at fault, you should also file a claim with their insurance company. You should notify the other driver’s insurance agency to let them know you will be filing a claim. If the accident was already reported, they’ll provide you with a claim number and agent.
This is where things get tough. Personal injury claims are complex, take time, and can become expensive. It is best to have a lawyer involved.
The other driver’s insurance company will defend their driver and their money. They will also try to trick you into giving a recorded statement or setting a time limit on the claim. These steps are unnecessary and can hurt your chances of winning.
Find an Attorney
Luckily, there are attorneys that specialize in personal injuries claims from car accidents. Once you’ve recovered, be sure to call your lawyer or find one.
There are attorneys that focus on soft-tissue injury claims and others that focus on hard injury claims. Some do both.
Check out some of the best car accident attorneys on this site.
Now You Know What to Do After a Car Accident Injury
If you’ve suffered from a car accident injury, it’s important to do everything you can to prevent any future loss of time and money. Remember to stop, call the police, record, and document, and get medical care. Then, you can move on to the complicated insurance stuff.
Follow these steps for what to do after a car accident injury and you’ll be on track to getting things back to normal for a healthy and happy lifestyle.