What Do I Do After An Accident?

The result of a car accident. A black car’s front end and a red car’s front end are both crushed.

When someone causes a serious car accident and leaves you with major injuries, there is no guarantee that you will receive the compensation you need to cover the costs and damages that you will incur. Injuries from a car accident alone often result in thousands of dollars in medical bills, and you will typically also incur other types of damages in addition to pain and suffering, such as lost wages due to being unable to work.

What can you do after an accident to increase the likelihood of receiving fair compensation for your injuries and damages?

Gather information

If you are able to secure the at-fault driver’s information promptly after an accident, it is in your best interest to do so. The at-fault driver’s full name, address, telephone number, driver’s license number, and insurance information are critical, but there are other things you can collect as well.

Regardless of whether they are taken by you, a relative, or a friend that day, or even the next day, numerous photographs and/or videos of both vehicles and the accident scene are also important. Consider also whether a surveillance camera at a nearby business may have recorded the accident.

This type of information helps explain to the at-fault driver’s insurance company who was at fault and conveys the nature and force of the impact you sustained. This, in turn, aids in securing fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

Finally, because sometimes we forget the details surrounding an accident, take a few minutes to jot down what you can recall in the moments leading up to the accident, during the accident itself, and after the accident. Information that is good to write down includes:

  • Whether you were moving or parked
  • What lane you were in
  • How fast you were going
  • Weather conditions
  • What the at-fault driver did or did not do
  • What, if anything, the at-fault driver (or anyone else) said immediately after the accident

See a doctor

If you believe that you were injured, you should get checked out by a doctor as soon after the accident as practical. In addition to treating your injuries and getting you on the road to recovery, a doctor’s examination will document the injuries you sustained in the accident.

That examination will create a benchmark of your condition/injuries at that time, which helps document the improvement or worsening of your condition/injuries. Without such medical reports, it is challenging to prove that your injuries were, in fact, due to the accident or the nature and extent of your injuries.

Consider contacting an attorney

This may be the first time you were injured in a car accident and forced to negotiate with an insurance company.  However, it is not the insurance company’s first time.

Insurance adjusters handle personal injury claims every day and are skilled at negotiating settlements favorable to the insurance company. An attorney can be extremely helpful after an accident because he/she will be familiar with the “Rules of Road” and demonstrating why the at-fault driver is liable.

An attorney will also know what compensation you are entitled to under the law (including potential future damages) and will be adept at conveying the nature and extent of your injuries/damages. An attorney’s skills and experience are important when attempting to secure a recovery that fully and fairly compensates you.

In the meantime, you can focus on what is most important—working toward recovering from your injuries.