A car accident can be disorienting, terrifying, and devastating all at the same time. One moment you are driving along minding your own business, and then suddenly your life is changed by someone running into the side of your vehicle.
Your initial inclination is to be scared, and that is normal. But if you want to make sure that you get the compensation you will need to recover from your injuries, then you need to collect yourself and take care of the details that could determine your personal injury case.
If you need immediate medical attention, then wait for emergency response people to arrive to take care of you. If you are able to walk away from your accident, then you may still need medical attention.
After a car accident, the adrenaline is pumping through your body and disguising any medical issues that could be developing. You need to get to an emergency room immediately to get checked out, and then make a follow-up appointment with your doctor to watch for any lingering effects.
If you are cleared by the medical response team onsite of any immediate injuries, then you need to collect some data before you go to the emergency room for a more detailed look. You need to try to get the names and contact information of any witnesses, make notes of weather conditions, and make note of anything you feel would be pertinent to a personal injury case.
Most people have phones with cameras in them, and you need to put your camera to work at your accident scene. Take pictures of your car, the other car, the scene of the impact, any stop lights in the area, and anything else that was part of the situation. If you can take videos of anything pertinent, then that will help as well.
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The information you collect will be invaluable to your attorney, but you will still need the official police report to file with the insurance company. In some areas, the police are able to generate and print a police report at the accident site. If this is not the case in your area, then find out from the officer where and when you will be able to pick up the report for your accident.
You are obliged to contact your insurance company to file an accident claim, but that is the only contact you should have with any insurance company regarding your accident. One of the reasons that you should do follow-up appointments with your doctor is because there could be lingering effects from the accident that will show up in tests done days after the accident is over. If you settle with the insurance company before you have all of your information, then you will have to deal with the financial effects on your own.
Being in a car accident is a difficult experience, but you need to collect yourself and gather information if you want to see to your own long-term care. Collect information immediately after the accident is over, and then hire an attorney to help preserve your rights.