Whether the cause is cell phone use, drunk driving, falling asleep at the wheel, or just plain inexperience, car accidents remain the leading cause of death for people 34 and younger, claiming an astounding 40,000 lives a year in the U.S.
Because you are likely to be involved in a car accident at some point in your life, the tips below will be crucial in guiding you through what to do after the accident, and how an attorney fits into the equation.
Things Not To Do After the Accident
Give a recorded statement – It is vital that you discuss the case with an attorney first, to make sure you don’t say anything that might negatively affect your case, in the circumstance that you decide to pursue a claim.
Write about the accident on your blog or social networking site – unless you get prior approval from your attorney, you should not share information about the accident with anyone, let alone an entire community of online readers.
Authorize the release of your medical records – Never sign anything pertaining to your car accident without first talking it over with your auto accident lawyer. It is crucial that you understand your legal right before you authorize your medical records.
Write about the accident and your injuries in your diary – Although written information on the web can be a bit more elusive, your diary is a solid piece of tangible evidence, that could possibly hurt your case. Even if you don’t currently plan to file a claim, it’s never good to keep a record of the accident before consulting a car accident attorney.
Accept an injury settlement until your injuries are fully healed – Many times, people are pressured to settle, before they have fully healed, resulting in them receiving less money than they should. In most cases, a good attorney will advise against this.
Things To Do After the Accident
Gather Witness Information – Get names, addresses, phone numbers and emails for anyone who saw some or all of the incident.
Take pictures of the damage – Even though it’s the last thing you might think about, it is crucial to get some detailed pictures of the scene from many angles and directions. General pictures of the scene are not very useful, but up-close shots of the wreckage, car debris, skid marks, street signs of the intersection, and any other landmarks close by, are great documentation to have available.
If you are in a car accident, don’t rely on the other person to do the right thing. Obtain as much information about the accident as possible, including photos of all vehicles, names of witnesses and police at the scene. Often getting all that information is difficult for someone who has just been in a car crash.
Call the police – It’s important to dial the police so that they can direct traffic away from the scene of the accident, but refrain from giving them a record of everything that happened, before discussing it with an auto accident lawyer.
Seek medical help – Because your body has a natural way of coping with pain and trauma through bursts of adrenaline, you might feel fine after the accident. Still, it is important to examine your body for obvious physical injury. Whether the injury is apparent or not, you must be looked at by a medical professional.
Return for Check-ups – Many times, car accident injuries are internal and cannot be seen outside the body, requiring the doctor to run thorough examinations, in order to get the proper diagnosis. Remember, “doctor knows best.”
Have all your medical bills billed to your health insurance provider – The at-fault insurance company will eventually pay the bills, however, that doesn’t happen until the case is settled. While you’re waiting, your health insurance company will handle your medical expenses.
Car accidents are simply a fact of modern life. Nobody’s perfect, and sometimes the accident is beyond anyone’s control. Whatever the case might be, it is important to stay informed on what to do when you’re faced with the inevitable.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident and you’re thinking about filing a claim, don’t hesitate to contact Bruce A. Hagen, your Atlanta, Georgia car accident attorney.