At best, a car accident is inconvenient. At worst, it can be a life-changing experience for you and your family. You may have hospital bills, property damage, time lost from work, your passengers may also have been injured in the car accident, and, in the worst-case scenario, someone you love may have been killed by a reckless driver.
To make things worse, the insurance company for the other driver is not going to voluntarily pay full and fair compensation for the damage caused by their insured (the other driver) – they will try to take advantage of you and deny, limit, or delay your claim whenever possible.
In this article, we will discuss what you should do after a car accident to maximize your chance of recovering full and fair compensation, including:
- What to do immediately after a car accident,
- How to gather critical evidence after the car accident,
- When to seek medical attention, and
- How a car accident lawyer can help.
What Should You Do After A Car Accident?
What should you do after a car accident? To maximize your chances of recovering maximum compensation from the other driver, you can avoid some common mistakes by reporting the accident, letting your car accident attorney deal with the insurance company, gathering evidence at the scene, and immediately seeking medical attention when needed.
Report The Accident
Call law enforcement, report the accident, and wait for the responding officer to arrive.
When you talk to the responding officer, make sure that they have accurate information about what happened. Take care not to embellish, but the officer needs to know how the accident happened and why it was the other driver’s fault.
The officer will record information about the crash in his or her accident report, and that report will be a primary source of information for the insurance companies, the insurance defense attorney, and the officer if they later testify at a hearing or at a trial.
Let Your Attorney Talk To The Insurance Company
You should immediately report a car accident to your insurance company, but what should you do when the other driver’s insurance company calls you and asks for a recorded statement?
Tell them to call your attorney.
The other driver’s insurance company is not trying to help you. They don’t need your recorded statement to pay your claim. Their primary goal is for you to make statements or provide information by answering questions so they can possibly use your statements against you later.
They will try to deny or limit your claim whenever possible, and statements that you thought were innocent may turn out to be harmful to your case later – for example, NC follows what is called the “contributory negligence rule.” If you are even 1% at fault in a car accident, you are barred from recovering any damages at trial.
Gather Evidence At The Scene
When it is possible to do it safely, you should gather evidence at the scene that you can later provide to your attorney, including:
- Photographs of any damage to any vehicles involved in the crash,
- Photographs of the roadway or location of the crash that could show skid marks, the position of the vehicles, the location of damage to each vehicle, and the extent of the damage to the vehicles,
- Names and contact information for any witnesses to the car accident, and
- Photographs of any injuries to yourself or your passengers.
Immediately Seek Medical Attention
When EMS shows up, let them examine you for injuries. If EMS says go to the emergency room, go to the emergency room. If the ER doctor recommends X-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI scan, do it.
Follow up on all recommendations the doctors make and go to all scheduled medical appointments.
You may not realize the extent of your injuries at the scene – some injuries may be difficult for you to detect at first. You may think that a headache, sore chest, or aching neck are normal when your adrenaline is pumping after a traumatic car crash, but it may also be a symptom of severe injuries that can worsen if they are not immediately diagnosed and treated, like:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI),
- Spinal cord injuries,
- Soft tissue injuries like whiplash, or
- Internal bleeding.
If your injuries are not quickly diagnosed and documented, the insurance company will try to say that they were not caused by the car accident or that you are exaggerating them.
How A Car Wreck Lawyer Can Help!
Your car wreck attorney can help you to get full and fair compensation from the other driver’s insurance company for your property damage, injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages, and all elements of damages that you are entitled to that were caused by the other driver’s negligence.
When you call Northstate Auto Law, we will:
- Meet with you to discuss your case – if you are unable to come to our office, we will come to you!
- Gather the evidence we will need to prove liability and damages, including the responding officer’s accident report, photos of the damages, medical records, and witness testimony,
- Retain any experts that are needed to prove liability and damages, including accident reconstructionists, doctors and medical experts, economists, and life care planners,
- Engage in the discovery process to obtain documents, deposition testimony, and evidence from the other side as needed,
- Negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to demand full and fair compensation, and
- Try your case to a jury if the insurance company does not agree to pay fair compensation.
Speak With An Attorney About Your Car Accident Claim
Know what to do after a car accident, so you can avoid common mistakes that might hurt your car accident claim and get full compensation for your injuries.
If you have been in a car wreck that was caused by someone else’s negligence, do not lose hope! Call Northstate Auto Law now at 336-781-4606 or send us a message through our website to talk to an attorney who cares.