The steps you take after a car accident can make or break your claim for financial compensation. If you have been seriously injured, you need to make smart decisions about protecting your legal rights, and you need to make sure you avoid mistakes that could make it more difficult to secure fair financial compensation.
What Should You Do After a Car Accident?
Call 911 from the accident scene and call us at 203-800-8000 immediately. If you are recovering at home or in the hospital, here are 10 steps you should take in order to protect your legal rights:
1. See a Doctor Promptly
After a car accident, it is absolutely essential that you see a doctor promptly. You need to know the extent of your injuries, and you need your doctor to confirm that your injuries resulted from the collision. If you delay your medical treatment, not only could you prolong your recovery, but you could also make it more difficult to file a successful claim.
2. Preserve All Evidence in Your Possession
Proving your claim requires evidence, and you may already have some critical evidence in your possession. Did you take photos or a video at the scene of the accident? Do you have footage of the accident on a dashcam or GoPro? Do you have damaged or bloodied clothing or personal items from the crash? Anything you have from the date of the accident could potentially be evidence in your claim for damages.
3. Take Notes or Record a Voice Memo
In addition to any photos, videos, and physical evidence, it is important to preserve your recollection of the accident as well. To do this, you should sit down and take notes or record a voice memo, taking the time to record as many details as possible. Examples of key details you may be able to record include:
- Did the other vehicle run a red light or stop sign? Did it merge into your lane?
- Could you see where the other driver was looking or what he or she was doing just prior to the collision (i.e. talking or texting on the phone)?
- Did the other driver say anything at the scene of the accident following the collision?
- Did any witnesses stop and offer to help?
- How were the road and weather conditions at the time of your crash?
4. File Your Insurance Claim
It is important to file your insurance claim as soon as possible. The best option is to call us at 203-800-8000 to file the claim on your behalf. If you call your insurance company yourself, you must be sure to accurately report the time, date, and location of the accident, but do not say anything about who or what you believe may have been to blame. This will come later, and it is a matter that you should leave that to your attorney.
5. Do What Your Doctor Says
As you begin the process of seeking just compensation for your injuries, it is imperative that you continue to follow your doctor’s advice. Rest, recuperate, rehabilitate. Go to all doctors’ appointments and get the diagnostic testing that your doctor orders. In other words, do whatever your doctor says is necessary for you to get back on your feet as quickly as possible. You can certainly seek a second opinion if you have concerns about your medical advice, but you should not simply ignore the recovery process.
6. Avoid Costly Mistakes
Along with ignoring your doctor’s advice, at this stage there are several other costly mistakes you need to avoid as well. Among them, you should not make assumptions about anything related to your insurance claim or your right to a financial recovery, and you should avoid discussing the accident with your neighbors, at work, or on social media.
7. Do Not Settle Your Claim
The biggest mistake you need to avoid is settling your insurance claim too soon. Once you file your claim, your insurance company will immediately begin its efforts to resolve your claim for as little as possible. One common tactic the insurance companies use is to offer a low-ball settlement. If you receive a settlement offer, you should not respond, but instead contact an attorney as soon possible.
8. Keep Track of Your Losses
As time moves on, your losses will continue to accumulate. In order to eventually settle for just compensation (or make an informed decision about taking your case to trial), you need to know how much you are entitled to recover. To this end, you should keep copies of all bills and receipts for your medical care, prescriptions, and other out-of-pocket expenses, and you should keep a daily journal of your injuries’ impacts on your life.
9. Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
After a car accident, one of the most important things you can do is to contact a law firm. In order to collect additional key evidence and avoid mistakes when dealing with the insurance companies, you need an experienced car accident attorney on your side. A car accident lawyer can also help you by:
- Walking you step-by-step through the process of getting ready for your claim
- Explaining the mistakes you need to avoid
- Explaining the insurance claims process and what will happen if your case goes to trial
- Referring you to doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating car accident victims
- Calculating your financial and non-financial losses
- Determining if you have a third-party claim against a road construction company or vehicle manufacturer
- Determining if you have grounds to pursue a claim for punitive damages
Speak with a Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Do you need help recovering after a car accident? To discuss your case with one of our experienced car accident lawyers for free, call 203-800-8000 or request a free consultation online now. You only pay if we win.