A car accident can be one of the most terrifying experiences a person can live through. The impact of the wreck is likely to leave you shaky, disoriented, stressed, and possibly even injured.
However, it is important to understand that the action you take immediately following a car wreck, and in the days after, can have a major effect on your insurance claim or personal injury claim. Being a responsible driver includes being familiar with a few key do and don’t tips that can help to minimize the stress and confusion that follows after a car accident.
Your Houston car wreck attorneys at Lapeze & Johns want to ensure that you receive the dedicated expertise and passionate care to achieve the results you deserve. With a history built on excellence, find comfort and guidance in the following information.
TIPS TO FOLLOW AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
- IF YOU ARE NOT INJURED. Assuming this will not place you in a harm’s way (should the accident occur on a busy street for instance), then check on the condition of any passengers in your vehicle and in the other vehicles involved. Should somebody be seriously injured, call 911 and request immediate assistance.
- GET THE MEDICAL TREATMENT YOU NEED. If you are injured in the car accident, then it is absolutely vital that you get medical treatment immediately. Do not hesitate to request that an ambulance take you to the hospital.Even if your injury seems small to you, don’t ignore the signs of pain, as these may be symptoms of something much more serious. It is also important to remember that the longer you wait to visit a doctor after a car wreck, the harder it becomes to prove those injuries happened as a result of the accident. This can make your personal injury claim or insurance claim much more challenging to prove.
- GATHER INFORMATION. Assuming you and the other parties involved in the accident are not injured, you should do your best to collect as much information as possible including: name(s) of the other driver(s), their contact information, license information, insurance information, witness information, and license plate numbers of the cars, as well as noting the make, year, and model.Another strategy is to use your camera phone to take pictures of the accident, car damage, road conditions, road signs, skid marks (if any), and weather.
- MAKE SURE TO GET LAW ENFORCEMENT INVOLVED. Even if the car accident only caused minor damages, it may be in the best interest of all parties involved to call the police. A police officer will document the accident and file an official report that can be used by insurance companies in a settlement.Don’t forget to get the contact information of the police officer(s) that respond to the crash and takes down the report.
- FOLLOW UP WITH MEDICAL TREATMENT. From the very first trip to the hospital and during the entire process of receiving medical treatment, there are a number of very important rules that you need to always follow:
- Always tell your doctor the truth from the get-go. Discuss previous injuries or illness and be honest about where you are feeling pain.
- Always follow medical instructions and take all medication prescribed to you. If you do not feel comfortable taking a certain medication, ask your doctor to see if there is another option.
- Attend all follow-up appointments. Skipping any will look bad on your medical record and can have a negative effect on your personal injury claim.
- Do not stop treatment at any time during the personal injury claim.
- Keep a track of your injuries by documenting them with pictures and detailed notes.
- MAINTAIN DOCUMENTATION. There are a number of reports and documents that can help you to build your case including:
- Police reports will include the officer’s understanding of what happened, traffic violations broken by the negligent party, and whether or not a citation was issued.
- Medical documents are needed for both insurance and legal claims. These include admitting charts, physician’s notes, diagnosis and prognosis reports, consultations, referrals, test results, and medication receipts.
- Photos of the accident and your injuries can prove to be crucial evidence.
- FIND LEGAL HELP. You will need to seek help from the experienced and dedicated Lapeze & Johns Houston car accident attorneys as soon as possible to protect your right to a recovery award. Do not hesitate to seek legal assistance as lost time can jeopardize your claim.
WHAT NOT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
- DO NOT ADMIT FAULT TO ANYONE. Do not apologize or admit fault to anyone involved in the car accident. Your words can be used against you in an insurance or legal claim.
- AVOID DISCUSSING THE INCIDENT OR ANY LEGAL PROCEEDINGS TO ANYONE – ESPECIALLY ON SOCIAL MEDIA. It is in your best interest to completely avoid using social media while following a legal claim for the car accident. You should also ask all friends and family members to avoid mentioning you or discussing your case online. Comments, posts, and images can all be used against you by an insurer or defense lawyer to undermine your claim.
- AVOID DISCUSSING THE ACCIDENT WITH AT-FAULT DRIVER’S INSURANCE COMPANY. It is very likely the at-fault driver’s insurer will reach out to you in some form. Avoid conversations with these adjusters and do not allow them to record a statement. Never sign any form or documents as well, as in most cases they will seek to place fault on you. Always refer the adjuster to your attorney.