An average of 6 million car accidents happen in the U.S. every year, injuring 3 million people. While some injuries are minor, approximately 33,000 people lose their lives. If you or a loved one was involved in a car crash, you understand how something as simple as a fender bender can create chaos.
Your car may be out of commission, you may need medical treatment, and you may have to take time off work. The families of loved ones who lost their lives have it even harder. All these things can adversely affect your financial, physical, and mental health. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, Cellino Law wants you to understand there are several things you should do immediately after the accident and others to follow up on over the days following the accident.
What Should You Do at a Car Accident Scene?
There are important steps you should take right after a car accident, but the adrenaline and shock can make it hard to focus. Keep this list easily accessible so you can access it if the unfortunate need arises.
In many car accidents, several people may sustain injuries. After assessing your own, try to assist the occupants in your vehicle and others.
If you’re involved in a car accident, you have an obligation to report it to the police. Give the operator pertinent details, including how many people are injured. This information helps dispatchers send enough first responders, including medical personnel, to the scene.
There are times when drivers will not want to call the police or feel the parties involved can handle the situation independently. In any accident, you want a police report. When property repair and medical costs build up, some at-fault drivers may balk at paying for your expenses. Your Cellino Law car accident attorney will use the police report as evidence in your claims.
If you’re able, collect evidence. Record videos and take pictures of things like:
- Damages to all vehicles
- The entire accident scene
- Skid marks, potholes, and other roadway obstacles
- Witness statements
- Conversations you have with other drivers or their passengers
- Any additional details that seem relevant
Police officers and various investigators will gather their own evidence. However, it’s freshest right after the accident happens.
Accept a Medical Examination
Dispatchers typically send trained medical professionals to car crash sites. Even if you don’t think your injuries are severe, you need to accept medical attention. Not all injuries appear immediately, and this assessment may save your life. If no paramedics arrive on the scene, go to a clinic, doctor, or hospital ER as soon as you leave.
Not only can this head off serious health problems before they get out of control, but it also proves to the insurance company that your injury occurred because of the car accident. Your Cellino Law attorney will use the official examination records as evidence to establish your medical condition for your insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
Did you know that you might make innocent mistakes that will damage your claim for damages? Not only will a competent car accident lawyer assess your case, but we will also provide invaluable and timely advice. We can perform many tasks for you, including:
- Notifying your insurance company
- Serving as your spokesperson with insurance company representatives and investigators
- Completing and submitting your insurance and legal paperwork
- Investigating your accident
- Ensuring that fault is assigned correctly
- Negotiating with insurance companies to obtain maximum compensation for your damages
- Taking your case to trial if necessary
Car accident claims in New York are often complex, and victims can benefit from legal assistance.
What Should You Do in the Following Days?
Taking the proper actions at an accident scene is important, but what you do in the following days is just as vital to your health and the viability of your insurance claim or lawsuit.
Complete Recommended Medical Treatments
Car accidents can have lasting medical effects that make your life miserable. Lacerations and broken bones are easy to spot, but some soft tissue, brain, and bone injuries may not appear until months after the accident. Your health is what matters most.
Continue with recommended medical treatments, medications, and rehabilitation until your doctors release you from their care. During the weeks and months following your accident, you may experience further medical complications and require additional medical attention. Ask your Cellino Law car accident lawyer if you’re eligible to seek compensation for future medical expenses and additional lost wages.
One of the ways insurance companies attempt to minimize claim payments is by stating that your injuries aren’t as serious as you say they are. If you discontinue your treatments, these companies will use it against you. Their stance would likely be that you would have needed these treatments if you were seriously injured.
Avoid Admitting Fault
In every car accident, each driver is assigned a percentage of fault. Some states, including New York, require drivers to obtain personal injury protection insurance that pays for some accident-related costs. However, serious accidents often have exorbitant accompanying expenses that PIP policy limits don’t cover fully.
More than one driver shares responsibility in many accidents and fault is assigned proportionally. The higher your assigned liability, the lower your potential compensation becomes.
Even saying, “I’m sorry,” can be used against you because it implies that you hold some blame for causing your crash. Your car accident attorney from Cellino Law will ensure that fault is assigned correctly.
Create a File
There is lots of documentation associated with car accidents and injuries. Your attorney will need copies of things like:
- Property damage estimates
- Medical bills
- Wage statements
- Medical assessments, recommendations, and reports
- The photos and videos you made at the accident scene
- Police accident report
You will add to this information over time, and keeping it in a central, safe place is vital.
Avoid Social Media
In attempts to discredit you and avoid paying claims, insurance company investigators will likely scour your social media accounts. Anything you post might be used to imply that you caused your accident or that your injuries aren’t impacting your life significantly.
Let Your Lawyer Deal With Insurance Companies
Unfortunately, many insurance companies use deceptive strategies to avoid paying claims. You can unknowingly say things or sign documents that will damage your claim. That’s one reason your Cellino Law attorney will review all documents before you sign them and speak to representatives on your behalf. Another reason is that you should avoid stress during your recovery, and dealing with these matters is often stressful.
Are You Looking for a Car Accident Lawyer?
If you or a loved one was in a car accident, Cellino Law can help with personal injury and wrongful death claims. We have served New York and surrounding areas for more than 60 years, winning more than $2 billion in compensation for our clients. You’ll benefit from our experience, resources, and the personal attention you’ll receive from your legal team.
We provide a no-obligation, confidential free case evaluation to anyone injured in a car accident and the survivors of those who lose their lives. In the days following your accident, allow us to help you begin the process of getting the compensation you deserve. Call us at (800) 555-5555 or send us a message online. Contact Cellino Law today to learn more about what we can do for you.