Most people will be involved in at least one vehicle collision in their lifetime. Minor accidents may only result in damage to the vehicles, with no injuries to the drivers or other occupants. However, severe injury and even death can occur in more serious accidents.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, there are steps you can take at the scene and immediately after to protect your right to compensation. Contact Ventura Law for a free consultation at (203) 800-8000 if you need prompt assistance.
1. Check Yourself for Injuries
Right after the accident happens, you need to assess your condition. You should also ask your passengers if they are hurt and check them for visible trauma.
Potential signs of a serious injury after a motor vehicle accident include:
- Localized pain in areas such as the head, neck, back, chest, arms, or legs
- Difficulty moving your extremities
- Sluggish or confused thinking
- Burn injuries
After seeing to yourself and anybody else in your vehicle, also check on the other driver and occupants in the vehicle. Be careful not to apologize or say anything that suggests you may have been at fault.
2. Call 911
In both Connecticut and New York, motor vehicle accidents involving injury, death, or property damage in excess of $1,000 must be reported to the police. With this in mind, it is generally best to call for emergency workers to respond to the scene of the accident.
Paramedics and firefighters can safely remove injured occupants from the vehicles and assess their injuries. The police will investigate the accident and collect statements from those involved.
3. Seek Treatment for Your Injuries
This step represents a critical juncture in the aftermath of a car accident or other vehicle collision. If emergency personnel determine that you have suffered serious injuries that require urgent intervention, being transported to the hospital is your best course of action. If, however, it is determined that you don’t require emergency care, taking the steps below will be beneficial should you pursue a claim for compensation against the at-fault driver.
Your health and well-being are your number-one priority. If you are able to stay on site and start building your accident claim, however, you should visit the emergency room right after you leave for thorough assessment of your injuries.
4. Exchange Information with the Other Driver
You need to get the following information from the driver of each vehicle involved in the accident:
- Their name
- Contact information
- Their driver’s license number
- Insurance information, including the name of the insurer, the policy number, and any contact or claim details
- The license plate number on their vehicle
If the other driver was on the road as part of his or her job, such as in a truck accident or an accident with a rideshare driver, be sure to get the name of the employer and commercial insurance information.
5. Take Photos of the Accident Scene
Pictures of the motor vehicle accident are a crucial part of building your claim. Some of the most important details you should capture include:
- The positioning of the vehicles
- Damage to the vehicles
- Injuries you and/or your passengers sustained
- The location of the accident
- Debris in the road
- Damage to the road surface and nearby objects
- Weather and traffic conditions
Any information you can document visually will provide assistance to your motor vehicle accident attorney in building your claim.
6. Speak to the Police
If a police officer responds to the scene of the accident, you will be asked to provide a statement. When answering the officer’s questions, be calm, stick to the facts, and tell the truth. The officer will use your statement and other information to create an accident report.
Ask the officer for his or her name, badge number, and precinct. This information will make it easier to find out where you or your lawyer can get a copy of the police report.
7. Talk to Witnesses
If anyone saw the accident took place, their account could help support your claim against the at-fault driver. The scene of a motor vehicle accident attracts many onlookers, but keep an eye out for people who showed up right after the crash happened and/or stopped to offer assistance.
Get the name and contact information of each person you talk to, and ask if you can write down what they tell you or (better yet) record their account. Then, share this information with your lawyer.
8. Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
In New York, the state’s no-fault law requires you to go through your own insurance provider first to be compensated for economic damages after most motor vehicle accidents. Your own Personal Injury Protection policy will cover some of your losses, although there are exceptions where you seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance company (such as motorcycle accidents and cases of serious injury).
Connecticut is not a no-fault state, so you face no obstacle in pursuing a claim against the at-fault driver. However, you still need to report the accident to your own insurance company.
9. Focus on Your Recovery
Motor vehicle accidents can turn your life upside down. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the things you have to do after the accident while coping with the challenges of the injuries you sustained.
The best thing you can do is take care of yourself. Follow the recommendations of your medical team when it comes to rest, physical therapy, medications, and other aspects of recovery. You don’t want to push yourself too far too fast and aggravate your condition.
10. Contact a Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can help you pursue the compensation you deserve for your losses.
Many accident victims face steep medical bills, are left unable to work as a result of their injuries, and face other damages. You should not have to shoulder these burdens by yourself if someone else is at fault for the accident.
How Ventura Law Can Help
Founded in 1957, Ventura Law is recognized as a leading advocate for injury victims. Our lawyers have recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients injured in motor vehicle accidents.
Please call (203) 800-8000 today for a free case review. Ventura Law has offices in Connecticut and New York, and we serve clients throughout the Tri-State area.