What you do after you leave the accident scene can make a significant difference in your case against the at-fault driver. Taking the proper steps can protect your right to hold them responsible and seek compensation for your losses. This could include taking actions such as:
- Getting the necessary medical care and beginning treatment
- Documenting what happened
- Collecting evidence and obtaining records
- Speaking with a personal injury law firm as soon as possible
Why What You Do After a Crash Is Important
When you file your insurance claim or take other action to recover compensation in your case, taking these steps could help you develop a strong case and make it easier to hold the at-fault driver liable. Having the most compelling case possible supports your claim and makes it more likely that you can negotiate fair compensation with the insurance adjusters from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Your car accident attorney can handle the claims process for you if you choose to work with one. Generally, victims seek and recover compensation through a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy or a personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury attorney will manage all aspects of this process.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 537-8185
Getting Immediate Medical Care Is Crucial for Several Reasons
You should see a doctor after your car accident. You can get an appropriate medical evaluation and any necessary treatment in several ways. The best choice for you will depend on the severity of your symptoms and other factors.
Remember that any costs related to your medical evaluation and care should be recoverable through an insurance claim or lawsuit. This includes all related medical expenses for minor injuries, serious ones, or even ongoing care for catastrophic injuries.
Options for getting checked out after a collision include:
- Going to the hospital via ambulance or helicopter
- Having a loved one take you to the emergency department
- Seeing your family doctor the same day or making an appointment for the following day
- Going to a walk-in or urgent care clinic
Getting a medical assessment as soon as possible can help you:
- Address life-threatening health conditions or concerns
- Ensure you do not have any serious injuries
- Receive treatment for any harm you suffered
It is also vital that you receive medical treatment because visiting a doctor and having them record your injuries as soon as possible after a crash helps to document the harm you suffered. When you go straight from the scene to the hospital, there is little room for the insurance carrier to claim the injuries occurred in some other way.
Accident lawyers often recommend getting medical care as soon as possible because it makes it easier to ensure the at-fault party is held responsible for the full range of your medical needs through an accident claim. Medical costs can quickly lead to financial stress if the insurance coverage and claim are not handled properly after a traffic accident with severe injuries.
Document What Occurred and Collect Evidence
As soon as you can, begin to collect any documentation or evidence related to your accident case. You can use a file folder, envelope, or box. What’s important is that you know where everything is and have a central location for anything you uncover.
If you took pictures at the scene, have the police report from the responding officers, or took down information about witnesses and the at-fault driver, save them. If you receive anything from the doctor you saw, save it as well. Other items that may go in your file include:
- Photos and details about your injuries
- Paperwork detailing missed work and any decrease in pay
- Receipt and paperwork from renting a car
- The estimate for property damages and vehicle repairs
- Parking receipts from doctor’s visits
- The accident report, if you obtain a copy
- Receipts from any other out-of-pocket expenses incurred because of the crash
You should also sit down and record what occurred as soon as you can after the accident. This will make it easier for you to remember the details later. You may need to answer questions about your crash or injuries months later, and this will allow you to review what happened.
While your attorney, if you choose to work with one, will investigate your accident, having a file with some supporting documents and proof of damage can greatly help your attorney build support for your insurance claim or civil action. The insurance company will try to pay as little as possible to settle your accident claim, so your lawyer will need as much evidence to support your case as possible.
Let a Car Accident Law Firm Review Your Collision Case
Most car accident attorneys offer free consultations for collision victims. They can verify if the crash was not your fault and explain your options for pursuing compensation for your injuries, lost wages, medical bills, and other damages.
They may be able to help you secure a fair settlement agreement with the insurance company representing the at-fault driver or sue that driver and argue for financial compensation at trial.
You should reach out to a law firm quickly following your accident, though. There are deadlines for a lawsuit in these cases that include:
- One year in Louisiana, per La. Civ. Code Art. 3492
- Two years in Alabama under Ala. Code § 6-2-38
- Three years in Arkansas per Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-105 and in Mississippi under Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49
Some victims have shortened timelines because of the facts of their cases, as well. This could mean you only have a few weeks or months to get started. While this technically does not affect your insurance claim, it could make it more difficult to negotiate an insurance settlement, since the company knows you cannot sue the responsible driver.
Talk to a Team Member at Morris Bart, LLC, About Your Crash Today
At the Morris Bart law firm, we have spent more than 40 years helping accident victims recover compensation for the harm they suffered. This includes securing more than 6,500 payouts in 2019. We serve the four states of the Gulf South: Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Contact us today to connect with one of our 15 locations. We are a contingency fee firm and provide free case reviews.
Questions?Call (800) 537-8185
to find a Morris Bart office near you.