What To Do After A Car Accident Injury
If you’ve been in a car accident, you know how disorienting those first few moments can be. You might be confused, angry, or hurt. The last thing on your mind is how to file a personal injury claim or how to pay for potential medical care.
However, there are important actions you should take at the scene of the accident and immediately after to ensure compensation for serious injuries, pain and suffering, and property damage. Even if the accident was a minor fender bender, be sure to follow these steps for the smoothest claims process.
Steps To Take After A Car Crash
If you are able, call 911. If you are seriously injured, have someone else call for you. If police arrive, get the police officer’s name and badge number for your records.
It is important to contact 911 to get an official accident report because this will be an important document when filing your personal injury claim. Some car insurance companies won’t cover a claim if there isn’t a police report.
Remain at the accident scene
Leaving the scene of the accident if the other party is also injured could be seen as a hit-and-run. Avoid potential criminal charges and stay at the scene until it’s appropriate to do so.
Move to a safe area
If you can safely do so, move your car out of traffic, like the shoulder of the road or a parking lot. However, if you or the other driver was seriously injured, leave your car where it is until a medical professional arrives at the scene of the accident.
Write down or photograph the license plate number, the year, make, model, and color of all vehicles involved in the accident.
Photograph any damage to your vehicle as soon as possible. These photographs will help your insurance company determine how much of the damages they will cover.
Record as much information about the accident that you can, like street names, direction you were driving, direction the other vehicle was driving, and road conditions. Try to include details like the day, date, and time of the accident, the color of any traffic signals, the weather, and estimate of your and the other driver’s speed.
Write down or photograph the other driver’s insurance company information, registration, and driver’s license number.
Get contact information for everyone involved, including any witnesses.
Do not admit fault
Even if you think the accident was your fault, do not admit this to the other driver or to law enforcement. Even apologizing can be misinterpreted as an admission.
Do not admit that you are hurt
If you think you aren’t injured, do not tell the other driver. Insurance companies could use this as an excuse to minimize your compensation. Some injuries, like whiplash, concussion or soft tissue injuries, are not immediately apparent.
However, if you are asked whether or not you are hurt do not lie. You can say you don’t know and will be seeking medical attention if necessary.
Document your injuries
Take photographs of any visible injuries you sustained from the auto accident. If you are unable, have someone else take pictures of your injuries.
If you seek medical attention, have the nurse or doctor take pictures of your injuries.
As soon as you can, record where and what hurts from the accident. The more information you have, the better chance a personal injury lawyer has at getting you the settlement offer you deserve.
Steps To Take If You’re Injured or Need Medical Treatment
- Visit a doctor or medical professional as soon as possible. Even if you aren’t entirely sure you are injured, seek medical attention immediately following the accident. (Remember, some injuries are not obvious at first!) The more time passes between the accident and seeking medical care, the harder it will be to prove your injuries were a direct result of the accident.
- Describe your injuries in detail. Medical providers document your complaints and injuries in their medical records, so make sure you describe them in as much detail as possible. Mention even the slightest pain or discomfort. A minor pain could intensify over time. If you do not mention it at your initial medical appointment, it will be harder to prove that it was caused by the accident. Insurance companies rely on these medical records when evaluating your injury claims.
- Get diagnostic tests and examinations. Make sure to get comprehensive diagnostic tests and examinations like MRIs, x-rays, scans, etc. The more concrete evidence you have that your injuries were a direct result of the accident, the harder it will be for insurance companies to cheat you out of compensation.
- Follow through. Make sure to follow through with any additional medical appointments, tests, physical therapy, medications, etc. Not only will you follow through help your recovery, but they also help your personal injury claim. If you don’t complete physical therapy, for example, an insurance company might argue that you weren’t really injured.
- Keep a diary. Continue to document any and all injuries, pain, medical treatment, medical bills, and expenses. Record details like specific pain and symptoms, the medical providers you received treatment from, what kind of treatment you received, any time missed from work, and any out of pocket expenses for medical care. Some lawsuits can take years before your day in court. A diary will help you remember the details of your accident and injuries.
- Seek legal advice. Talking with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you maximize your recovery and maximize your compensation. Injury claims can be difficult to settle on your own, especially soft-tissue car accident injuries which can be difficult to prove. Insurance companies tend to make lower settlement offers to victims who don’t have an attorney.
Although you might have a million other things on your mind after a car accident injury— How will I get to work? Who’s going to drop the kids off at school? Will my insurance go up?—it is important to take care of yourself right away.
- Report the accident to your insurance company within 24 hours.
- File a claim with your insurance company within 3 days if you were injured.
- File a lawsuit within 2 years from the date of the crash.
Many states have a statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims. In Nevada the statute of limitations is 2 years, so the sooner you file the claim the better.
Experienced Las Vegas Car Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been in an auto accident in the State of Nevada, you should speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who is licensed in Nevada as soon as possible. They can help you determine if you need an accident reconstruction specialist, and other steps to take next. The law firm of Anthem Injury Lawyers has a dedicated team of car accident lawyers and staff who are ready to help
We offer free case evaluations. Our office is conveniently located in Henderson, but we work with clients all over the Las Vegas Valley, including North Las Vegas, Summerlin, Spring Valley, Anthem, and the Strip. Contact us today for a free consultation at (702) 857-6000.