The shock of a car accident can leave you feeling unsure about what to do next. Even if you know someone else was at fault, you may not know what you should be doing to protect your rights. Most people have no idea how to start a personal injury claim after a crash. Below are some steps that you can take after a serious car accident to protect yourself and your injury claim.
Report the Crash
If you have been hurt, call 911 and report the crash to local law enforcement. An officer will prepare a police accident report detailing information about the crash, listing whether anyone was ticketed or arrested for the accident, and possibly providing the officer’s determination of fault for the accident. This report can be useful in your personal injury claim.
Even though information for each driver will likely be listed in the police accident report, you should still exchange information with each driver involved in the accident. Get the other driver’s name, contact information, license and registration information, and insurance carrier and policy number. This way you will know who to contact if you need to file a claim for compensation after the accident.
If anyone witnessed the accident, you should also get their contact information in case your lawyer needs to get a statement from them later.
Document What Happened
If you can, take photographs or videos of the accident scene. This includes:
- Damage to the vehicles involved
- The positions of the vehicles after the accident
- Any skid marks on the road
- The approximate visual perspective of each driver immediately prior to the accident
- The traffic controls and road markers at the scene
- The traffic, road, weather, and lighting conditions at the time of the accident
- Any visible injuries you suffered
You may also want to write down what you remember from the accident in case you later need to refresh your memory.
Get Medical Treatment
If you decline medical treatment or transportation to the hospital at the scene of the accident, you should still follow up with an examination by your physician or another doctor. You may not experience pain or other symptoms of injury until after the shock and adrenaline have worn off, and a doctor might be able to diagnose injuries via a physical exam. Promptly diagnosing your injuries allows you to begin treatment as quickly as possible and improves your prognosis. It also allows you to make a more persuasive claim that your injuries were caused in the car accident and that you are taking them seriously.
Keep All Bills, Receipts, Invoices, Medical Records, Etc.
When you later make a claim for compensation, it will help to have copies of the bills, invoices, and receipts for the medical expenses and other out-of-pocket costs you incur due to your injuries. These will help you calculate your monetary losses. Having copies of your medical records will help you establish the extent of your injuries. These records can also strengthen a claim for pain and suffering or loss of quality of life when your records discuss pain, limitations, and other difficulties that your injuries imposed upon you.
Follow Your Treatment Plan
Always stick to the treatment plan set forth by your treating medical provider. Don’t ignore recommendations or instructions or put off recommended surgeries or other medical procedures. If you do, you might allow your injuries and condition to worsen. This will allow the at-fault driver and the insurance company to argue that you have failed to mitigate your damages, which can adversely impact your rights to seek compensation. Failing to follow treatment instructions and recommendations can also allow the other side to argue that you have either fully recovered or that you weren’t as injured as you claimed.
Stay Off Social Media
Avoid making social media posts or posting photos or videos of yourself following your car accident. Insurance companies and defense attorneys often monitor the social media profiles of car accident claimants. They look for statements that contradict the claimant’s allegations or official testimony. They also look for photos or videos that show an injured claimant engaging in activities not consistent with the level of injury or disability. These types of social media posts can seriously damage your credibility and lead to the rejection or dismissal of your claim.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
You should speak to an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after your crash. You only have a limited period of time to file a claim for compensation for injuries and damages after an accident. Contacting an attorney as quickly as possible gives your lawyer the maximum amount of time to investigate your accident and prepare a strong, effective legal argument on your behalf.
How Our Massachusetts Car Accident Lawyers Can Help
If you have been injured in a Massachusetts car accident, the attorneys of Brooks Law can help you pursue the financial recovery you deserve by:
- Thoroughly investigating your accident to secure the evidence we need to pursue your case
- Identifying the at-fault party or parties and potential sources of compensation for your damages (including coverages under your own insurance policies)
- Filing claims for compensation on your behalf and aggressively negotiating for fair and full compensation
- Preparing your case to go to court if necessary, and vigorously advocating on your behalf to reach a verdict in your favor
When you choose our firm to handle your car accident claim, you can expect that we will work tirelessly for the results you deserve. Your claim is as important to us as it is to you. Contact Brooks Law to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation. Our hardworking Massachusetts car accident lawyers are ready to help.