What to Do Immediately after You’ve Been in a Motor Vehicle Accident
Black and Davison
When you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident because of the carelessness or negligence of another person, you have a right to pursue damages for all your losses, including income and wages, unreimbursed medical expenses, loss of companionship or consortium, and physical pain and suffering. But the steps you take immediately after you’ve been in a crash can have a significant impact on your legal rights. Here are some ways you can protect your interests.
Get the Medical Care You Need as Soon as Possible
You want to seek medical attention immediately, and for a couple reasons. First, the sooner you get medical care, the better chance you have of a full financial recovery. But waiting to be treated can put you at risk. The longer you wait, the more ammunition you give defense attorney to argue that your injuries were not serious, or that your injuries were actually caused by some intervening event.
In addition, remember that this is no time to be strong or be a hero…it’s the time to take maximum precautions to avoid further injury. If you don’t think you can move under your own power, or if you are in significant pain, wait until emergency medical technicians arrive. They’ll know what’s best for you. Go to the hospital, if necessary. If, however, your injuries don’t require hospitalization, make a trip to an urgent care or your family doctor as soon as possible.
When you are treated, make certain you mention everything that has happened. Don’t focus on the obvious injuries and neglect to mention the twists and sprains in your neck or back. And ask that doctors and nurses document everything in writing.
If possible, you want to use the moments after the accident to gather information to assist your attorney. Ask for contact information from anyone involved in the accident, including name, address, phone number and insurance provider. You also want contact information from any witnesses.
Take pictures of everything, from the conditions of the road to the damage to all vehicles, from your injuries to the weather. Your camera on your phone should be sufficient.
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