The steps you take after a vehicle accident can make the difference between being compensated for your injuries and experiencing lasting financial damages due to high medical costs and lost income. This article will provide useful guidance and seven tips to understand how to get legal help and what to do after a car accident that was not your fault.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were more than 5.25 million police-reported accidents in the United States in 2020. Thirty-five thousand accidents resulted in fatalities, and nearly 1.6 million accidents resulted in injuries.
Americans spend more than 1 million days a year in the hospital being treated for injuries resulting from vehicle accidents. Not only do they suffer the physical and mental impacts of car accidents, but their treatment is also expensive. Lost wages and the loss of lifetime earned income potential can devastate a family’s financial stability.
Car accident victims suffer from a wide range of injuries, including whiplash, broken bones, head trauma, organ damage, spinal cord damage, lacerations, and internal bleeding. Not all of those injuries are immediately noticeable. For instance, internal bleeding caused by blunt force trauma is life-threatening but is often not detectible immediately if no penetrating injuries exist.
Personal injury also covers the emotional and psychological damage from the accident. Signs of PTSD include mood changes, intrusive memories, nightmares, and physical or emotional reactions to sights, sounds, and smells that remind you of an accident. Should you experience these systems, seek treatment with a qualified mental health provider.
Here’s What to Do Immediately After the Accident
- After a car accident, the priority is to treat life-threatening conditions immediately. Emergency responders can make the difference between life and death for those with severe injuries. Contact law enforcement to report the accident and get emergency medical attention if you can.
- If your injuries are serious but not life-threatening, you may be able to begin to collect information at the scene of the car accident.
- Record as many details as possible, including the other driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information. If there were witnesses, get their names and contact information. You should also record the names of the responding officers and EMT personnel.
- Take photographs of injuries, accident scenes, and damage.
- Even though you did not need emergency medical treatment, seek medical attention as soon as possible. You will want to be evaluated for common injuries resulting from car accidents, including those not immediately present themselves.
- Follow all recommendations from the treating physician and medical team, including therapy and rehab recommendations. Your medical team will also provide guidance around the possibility of head trauma and internal bleeding and provide you with signs to look out for. Do not ignore any symptoms.
- Notify your insurance company and provide them with the details of the accident as well as the at-fault driver’s insurance information, license, and vehicle information.
- Request a copy of the police report and ensure all the details are accurate. Note any discrepancies.
- Notify your employer and begin tracking lost work and lost wages.
- Research personal injury law firms. Look for a law firm with a good track record of settlements in personal injury claims from car accidents. Consult with a law firm to determine if representation is your best option. A personal injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a case and identify the next steps.
Contact Us Today
If you have been injured and are unsure what to do after a car accident that was not your fault, legal representation may be your best option for ensuring that you receive a fair settlement.
Burnett and Williams is a Virginia personal injury law firm with offices in Leesburg, Midlothian, Winchester, Hopewell, Richmond, and Orange. Burnett & Williams is one of Virginia’s oldest and most recognized personal injury law firms. We are experts in personal injury cases and have a proven track record. Contact us today for a free consultation.