Injuries from a car accident cause a world of pain and stress.
Between your physical pain, emotional trauma, doctor’s visits, bills, work, time off, insurance, and mounds of paperwork — it’s hard to know where to begin.
Figuring out what to do after a car accident can be overwhelming. Fortunately, a personal injury attorney can help guide you through the stress and red tape involved with your car accident injury and personal injury case.
At GBM Law, our attorneys have more than 30 years of experience helping people like you get their lives back on track after suffering from car accident injuries. We will work with you every step of the way to ensure your legal needs are met during this challenging time.
To provide some helpful guidance, here are 4 things you should do immediately after you’ve been injured in a car accident.
1. Call the Police
If you believe you’ve been injured in a car accident, call 911 immediately. Tell the 911 dispatcher that you are injured if you feel any physical discomfort or if you are experiencing confusion. The 911 dispatcher may tell you to exchange information with the at-fault driver if you do not report an injury. In that case, the police will not go to the scene and make a police report, and the at-fault driver and their insurance company may deny fault.
This should be your first call regardless of how mild or severe you believe your injury may be. Even if you don’t feel like you’ve sustained an injury, you should call the police.
The police will be able to create a safe area around the vicinity of your accident, while also recording detailed reports and testimonies from you and other parties involved in and/or witnessing the accident.
It isn’t uncommon that other drivers in the accident won’t want to get the police involved, especially if they are uninsured or believe they are at fault. Consider: The at-fault driver may ask you to not call the police because they want to avoid a ticket or because they do not have auto insurance.
Don’t let the at-fault driver stop you from calling the authorities, especially if you feel like you’ve been injured. Even the most straightforward incident can get complicated when there isn’t a report taken.
Health, safety, medical documentation, and evidence like photographs from the scene of the accident are all imperative to your car accident personal injury case.
Contact the police immediately so they can document the accident. If the authorities or 911 operator tries to argue the necessity of their presence, state your case and be persistent until they agree to arrive. Take photographs of the cars at the scene or ask someone else to do that if you are not able to do so. Write down the name and phone numbers of all witnesses who saw the accident.
This will further help you and your personal injury attorneys gather the first critical pieces of evidence in building your claim.
2. Call a Personal Injury Law Firm
Your next phone call should be to a personal injury law firm.
Why is that?
Handling the aftermath and repercussions of a car accident is overwhelming, especially if you’re injured, stressed, and in pain.
A personal injury attorney can help reassure and guide you through the processes of:
- Gathering the police reports and documentation surrounding the car accident.
- Reporting and filing with your insurance company.
- Compiling current and projected future medical bills and expenses caused by the accident.
- Helping you calculate lost wages if your injury prevents you from working.
- Negotiating your settlement for all current and future health and economic damages caused by your injury, to make sure you are offered a fair settlement.
Pursuing your case alone, without representation of a personal injury attorney or firm, is not advised.
It’s commonplace for the insurance provider to take advantage of car accident victims who don’t seek representation from a personal injury attorney. Unfortunately, insurance providers see your accident as a business transaction.
Their goal is simple: offer you as small a settlement as possible. More often than not, this leaves unrepresented injured drivers, like yourself, with a fraction of the damages and compensation they are entitled to by law.
Our team of Ohio personal injury attorneys at GBM Law fight for our clients to get the damages and recompensation they deserve for all current and future damages and expenses created by the accident.
3. Take Photos of the Accident and Scene
Collecting relevant evidence is paramount to pursuing your car accident personal injury case. Photos, videos, and police reports are all crucial pieces of evidence your attorney can use to strengthen your case.
They provide a clear visual of the damage, results, and potential causes of a car accident and the injuries you sustained. They can also help determine the fault or the causes of an accident
From a legal perspective, they can help our attorneys demonstrate the nature and severity of the wreck to insurance agencies, the defense, jury, etc.
Photographic evidence is also valuable for our attorneys when reaching out to expert witnesses. Other professionals like engineers can be called in to assess photographic evidence of the damage and nature of an accident, which can further assert the credibility and justification for your case.
Be sure to get pictures of the following, for all vehicles that sustained damage in the accident:
- Deployed airbags.
- Broken glass.
Be sure to get photos from multiple angles, as safely as you can.
You should expect opposing insurance agencies to look for any opportunity they can get to push back on or minimize your case. Photos depicting all the vehicles involved in the crash will provide your personal injury attorneys with fundamental evidence to help fortify your case.
4. Go to Your Doctor Immediately
After the accident, we advise seeing a doctor immediately. Seeking physician assessment and treatment for your injury as soon as possible is not only important for your health and safety, but for your personal injury legal representation as well.
A mistake we see in a lot of cases is that clients don’t seek medical care immediately after a car accident.
Remember, insurance companies and their attorneys will challenge your case and minimize your settlement by any and all means.
A key tactic they can take is exposing gaps in your story. One of the easiest ways they can marginalize your case is by highlighting any delay between the date of the accident and when you first sought medical treatment after the accident.
Even a few days’ delay is sufficient for them to put your claim and injuries in question.
Don’t give them that opening.
The bigger the time gap between your accident and a doctor’s appointment for your injury, the easier it is for the defense to create doubt that the car accident caused your injuries at all.
Don’t put off your health or diminish the value of your case. Get medical treatment after your accident as soon as possible.
Here are some other helpful tips from our attorneys for what you should avoid doing after a car accident.
Other Notes: Doctors Appointments and Documentation
As you may have guessed, doctor’s appointments and medical documentation are also valuable for building your personal injury case.
For that reason, any health or medical care directly related to your accident, including:
- General practice and specialist appointments.
- Testing, X-rays, scans, MRIs, etc.
- Surgeries and rehabilitation.
- Other forms of treatment like physical therapy, occupational therapy, and chiropractic care.
These can be factored into the total damages you’re eligible to receive for your case.
Physicians’ notes, documentation, receipts, and medical bills are all critical components that help your personal injury attorney develop your claim.
Keep the Conversation to the Injury at Hand
When seeing a doctor for your car accident injury, keep the conversation exclusively to the injury and pain caused by the accident.
Why is that?
Physicians can document anything and everything you discuss during your visit.
For that reason, discussing any health problems or medical issues you’re dealing with unrelated to the car accident could jeopardize your personal injury case.
Once again, insurance companies and their attorneys are looking for ways to weaken your claim. Even the off-hand mention of family history medical issues, prior injuries, osteoarthritis, neck, or back pain can cast doubt on the car accident being the sole cause of your injury.
This isn’t the time to discuss your complete personal and family medical history.
Keep the conversation exclusively to the pain and harm caused by your accident. If you need help with this, get professional guidance from our car accident attorneys today.
Contact GBM Law for your Car Accident Injury Case
At GBM Law, our team of experienced personal injury attorneys goes above and beyond in helping our clients.
Unlike other personal injury firms, our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t have to pay our attorneys for any legal services rendered unless we can successfully settle your case
If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident, has been injured, and hasn’t contacted a personal injury attorney — it’s not too late.