The first steps you take after a car accident can influence your ability to secure a recovery through an insurance claim or lawsuit. Regardless of who caused an accident, drivers should always strive to follow a few best practices to protect themselves.
Call 911 to Report the Crash
Almost every state requires drivers involved in a car accident to notify the police if the accident caused any injuries, deaths, or significant property damage. Since it can be difficult to determine the exact value of property damage in a car accident on the spot, it is usually best to err on the side of caution and report any accident to the police if there is any room for doubt. Calling the police ensures you do not face a hit-and-run charge, and the responding officers will create an official report of the accident. This report will be essential if you intend to seek legal compensation or an insurance settlement for your damages.
Check on Others Involved and Locate Witnesses
Try to secure as much information as you can from the scene of the accident before you leave, if possible. If anyone suffered serious injuries, call 911 and wait for paramedics. If you are able to get up and move around, do so carefully, and check on the other drivers and passengers involved in the accident. If everyone appears to be okay, look for witnesses nearby and try to record what they saw and heard from the accident. Photos and video evidence fresh from the scene can be incredibly valuable; human memory diminishes quickly, and some witnesses may soon forget crucial details of the accident.
Seek Medical Care Immediately
Even if you feel fine when the police allow you to leave the scene of the accident, see your doctor as soon as possible. The adrenaline in your bloodstream will dull pain sensations and you could have suffered an internal injury that may not have obvious symptoms yet. Your doctor can check you for common car accident-related injuries and ensure you do not have a hidden injury that could worsen quickly without treatment.
Document Everything and Secure Legal Counsel
Retain records of any and all documentation related to your car accident. This may include hospital bills, car repair bills, pay stubs to prove lost income due to a severe injury, and the medical report from your doctor. These documents will be essential for an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the driver who caused your accident.
It’s always best to hire a reliable attorney before speaking with an insurance company or filing a claim for coverage. Having an attorney draft your demand letter to the insurer minimizes the chances of pushback and an attorney can ensure you receive a fair settlement. If necessary, your attorney can help you prepare a lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident.
Speak With a Qualified Toledo Car Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you care about has been injured in a car accident in Ohio or Southeast Michigan, the parties responsible for your harm should be held accountable. You have the right to file a personal injury claim to collect compensation you for your losses, which could be significant.
At Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault, our goal is to provide personalized representation to car accident victims and their families while giving you the best chance possible at collecting the full and fair compensation you deserve.
For additional information about what to do after a car accident, take a look at our Infographic below…