More than 36,000 Americans lost their lives to road accidents in the year 2019. That’s approximately 1.11 deaths for every 100 million miles traveled. Data from the NHTSA shows that 2020 was even worse. Despite the COVID-19 traveling restriction, the fatality rate increased from 1.06 in 2019 to 1.25 per 100 million in 2020.
Deaths aside, road accidents leave many more people injured. The majority of these cases leave the victims incapacitated for the rest of their lives.
So, what should you do if you find yourself injured in a road crash?
In this article, I will share seven steps you need to take immediately after getting into a car accident. These steps will help protect your rights and ensure you get the necessary compensation after the crash.
Stop And Ensure Everyone Is Safe
Driving away from an accident is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. It doesn’t matter how minor it appears or whether you’re in a hurry or not; driving away from the scene puts your character in question and will probably increase your liability.
After getting into an accident, stop and look around the scene to ensure everyone is safe. First, check on your passengers if you have any. Second, look around your vehicle and determine if it’s safe to step outside. If it is, go outside and ensure pedestrians and other motorists involved in the accident are safe.
Make sure your car is not endangering other motorists. Turn on your hazard lights, emergency flashers, or flares to warn other road users.
If you’re too injured to step out of your vehicle, call for medical help right away. You can also ask for the assistance of other road users if you can’t call 911 yourself.
Call Law Enforcement
You should always file a police report after getting into a road accident. In some cases, and especially with serious car crashes, the police will come to the scene so you can file your report from there. In other instances, you’ll have to file your report at the station. In any case, make sure to file and get a copy of the report.
You will need this report when filing for a claim from your insurance provider. It may also come in very handy should the accident lead to legal issues.
Don’t forget to record the police officer’s name, contact, and badge number.
Get Medical Assistance
A car crash can result in a severe medical emergency. If that’s the case, you must call the medics immediately. This means you’ll start receiving your care right from the scene.
For some individuals, the accident could be minor, so emergency medical help may not be the top priority. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore seeing the medics altogether. That’s a huge mistake.
If you did not receive medical help at the scene, go see a doctor once you are done with the police report. This ensures that no medical issues are overlooked.
Seeing a doctor is also crucial for protecting your rights. Failing to consult a licensed physician could reduce your compensation and even increase your liability. This will leave you footing expensive medical expenses that should have been covered by the insurance provider.
Therefore, do not resume your normal life without a visit to the doctor. Make sure the medical practitioner is aware that the injuries are due to a road accident. You should also collect and store all the medical records carefully.
Take Pictures Of The Scene
Document the scene of the accident as accurately as possible. Use your phone to capture images of the damages to your car and the other motorist’s. Capture the skid marks and property damage, show the position of the cars on the road, and note any road signs present in the area.
You should do close-ups as well, and don’t hesitate to capture a video showing more context of the accident.
It’s advisable to make a voice recording of the accident while at the scene. The whole incident is still fresh here, so you’ll give a more detailed report which will help you down the road.
Collect Witnesses’ Details
If there are witnesses around the scene of the accident, go and speak to them. Note down their contact details and ask them to stick around and give their statements to law enforcement officers.
The statements will strengthen your claim against the at-fault motorist. They may also be helpful in case your claim ends up in court.
Hire An Experienced Car Accident Attorney
In the perfect world, an insurance company will take your evidence of the scene, and statement then processes your claim without any hiccups whatsoever. But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a reality where everyone is worried about their bottom line.
Therefore, you can expect adjusters to fight your claim. Some will try to pay you less than you deserve, while others will want to avoid paying even a single penny. That’s why you need to hire the services of a car accident attorney.
The attorney will represent you throughout. They will help with filling and filing documentation. They’ll also help you negotiate for worthy compensation.
So, shop around for an experienced car accident lawyer that’s capable of handling your case. Preferably a local attorney. So if you live in Chicago, find a local car accident lawyer. Such an attorney is in a better position to navigate the local laws and deliver the desired outcome.
Don’t worry if you can’t find a lawyer who specializes in car accidents alone. You can also hire a Chicago personal injury law firm experienced in car accident cases to represent you. Just make sure their experience is satisfactory.
Keep Track Of Expenses Incurred Due To The Accident
Keep a diary of all the expenses related to the accident. This includes prescriptions, physician appointments, physiotherapy fees, and lost wages.
It’s also good to keep a record of other activities related to the accident, e.g., the pain you’re in, inability to perform your everyday tasks, etc.
Car accident claims can stretch a long time, so having a clean record will help you keep track of the facts.
This guide will help safeguard your rights after getting into a car crash. Remember, do not give your statement to the insurance companies without consulting your attorney. The adjusters can take advantage of the situation and make it harder for your lawyer to negotiate your claim later on. Similarly, avoid discussing the claim with anyone else other than your attorney. Don’t admit fault to the other driver or your friends. Follow your attorney’s instructions, and you’ll be alright.