If you’re the victim of a car accident, there are immediate steps that you must take in the accident’s aftermath to ensure compensation for any physical injuries. Even if you think you haven’t been injured, take these steps. Serious injuries sometimes show up days or even weeks after an accident. If you are unable to act immediately, call a friend or family member to take these steps for you or ask for help from someone at the scene.
- Call 911
- Immediately report the accident. Let the 911 dispatcher know if anyone has been hurt. When the police arrive, be completely honest and cooperative. Remember that what you tell the police about your injuries will be recorded and can be used as evidence when you file an insurance claim or lawsuit. If you are hurt, get this information into the police report. Do not discuss the accident or fault for the accident with anyone other than the police.
- Record the Scene
- Record your version of exactly what happened in the order it happened. If you are unable to do so, enlist the help of someone else to do these tasks.
- Get the contact information, insurance, license plate, and driver’s license information of all others involved in the accident. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses. Make note of weather conditions, construction activity, or any other contributing factors.
- Use your cell phone to take pictures of the accident scene from all angles. Take pictures of the inside of the car you were in. Take pictures of your injuries.
- Seek Medical Attention
- Even if you think that your injuries are not serious, immediately seek medical attention. Do this because EMT, emergency room, and doctor’s records will be required by insurance companies and are necessary in lawsuits. It is important to be completely honest. Disclose any previous injuries that might be seen as contributing to your current injuries. Be sure to follow up on any discharge advice you are given. Save all receipts and bills. Failure to do any of this can jeopardize your case.
- Notify Your Insurance Company
- You may be compensated for your medical expenses, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and loss of consortium. An insurance carrier first looks to the types and amounts of damage suffered, and then to fault or percentage of fault.
- Contact your insurer as soon as possible. Insurers often have notification deadlines and if you fail to meet these deadlines, you might not be compensated. Cooperate with the insurance adjustor but do not agree to a recorded statement.
- Don’t Sign Anything Yet
- In the weeks following an auto accident, insurance companies, both yours and others, often try to settle for a specific amount of money if you agree to give up your rights to make a claim or sue in the future. This money can be tempting, but it is much better to wait and see what the actual extent and cost of your injuries will be.
- Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
- The laws on personal injuries caused by auto accidents can be complicated. Additionally, the facts of each case are unique. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of a car accident in Arizona, the Phoenix personal injury lawyers at Kamper Estrada, LLP are here to help. Contact us today!
***Tip: Having a list of the actions to take can very useful, especially in the aftermath of an accident when adrenaline, pain, confusion, and fright abound. After reviewing this article, print it out and keep a copy in your glove box.