Important Steps after a Car Accident

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Karl Truman Law Office

Louisville, KY

Was a police report filed?
  • After a car accident, there are certain things you should and should not do. Taking steps to protect yourself and your injury claim is important to the process of pursuing maximum compensation.

    1. Take Immediate Action at the Scene

    There are steps you ought to take even in the first moments after a car accident:

    • As required by law, do not leave the scene. Bring your vehicle to a stop, but do not block the flow of traffic
    • Move accidents to the shoulder if possible, and use road flares and the car's hazard lights if you can't immediately move your vehicle
    • Provide what assistance you can to injured people, but don't attempt to move anyone who appears seriously injured
    • Call an ambulance if you or anyone else seems to be seriously hurt
    • Remain as calm as possible. Remember that things you say at the accident scene can be used against you later. Don't apologize, admit fault or accuse anyone of anything
    • Call the police and cooperate with the responding officer(s). Request a written report and ask for the incident number so that you can get a copy later
    • Takes notes and pictures at the scene. Use your phone to capture images of the vehicles from several angles, as well as the surrounding scene and any apparent physical injuries. Write down the names, addresses and contact info of the other driver(s), as well as the license plate number

    2. Document Everything

    Documenting as much as possible helps you to prove what happened when making your case to the insurance adjuster or jury:

    • When you get home from the accident or the hospital, write down what you remember happening. From that point on, you should keep a journal or electronic record with daily entries describing your pain and symptoms
    • Keep receipts of all expenses related to the accident and injury. From medical bills to in-home assistance, all of your expenses should be documented for the best chance of getting reimbursed
    • Document each and every appointment with your doctor. Keep a calendar indicating the date and time of each visit. Write down important medical events, such as dates that you received medications, crutches, x-rays, etc. Save everything you can, such as empty prescription bottles and removed casts
    • Record all wages/income lost. In order to recover wages you lost as a result of the car accident, you will have to show some proof of your diminished earnings. Check stubs, tax forms, employer statements, and any other documentation you have should be retained

    3. See Your Doctor

    Seeking medical care is not only critical to your health, it may be a vital component of your injury claim:

    • Go to your doctor as soon as possible. Even if you don't believe you are seriously hurt after the accident, certain injuries can have delayed effects and symptoms
    • Keep all of the medical appointments that are scheduled for you. Doing so will help you recover physically and may be used later to show insurance adjusters the extent of medical care that was required
    • Be honest with your doctors. Telling them about your medical history and previous injuries helps them provide effective care

    4. Get Legal Advice Prior to Dealing with the Insurance Company

    Part of a lawyer's job is to make sure you don't sign anything, say anything or do anything that can hurt your case:

    • Do not give any recorded statement to an insurance adjuster without your attorney's advice
    • Do not provide the other driver's insurance company with a medical authorization form. This form gives that insurance company complete access to records of all of your current and past medical treatments
    • Speak to an attorney before giving a statement to your own insurance company. It's important to understand all aspects of your coverage before making a statement

    5. Don't Exaggerate Your Injuries

    Exaggerating your injuries or misrepresenting the truth in any way can only hurt your case in the end. By being honest with your car accident attorney, he or she can guide you to the best possible resolution for your case, in the most effective way possible. Always tell the truth, even if you feel embarrassed or unsure of what will happen in your case.

    Rely on your attorney to guide you through the process of what you should and should not do after a car accident. With the help of an experienced, skilled accident attorney in your area, you can begin the process of pursuing compensation for expenses related to your accident injury.

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