Many people involved in an automobile wreck often do not know what they should do immediately afterward. This can be problematic and could affect their injury claims down the road. Most people know they should call the police and ensure they exchange information, but here are five other things you should do immediately following a wreck and in the days afterward:
- Collect Evidence. Take photographs of the vehicles involved at the scene, preferably before they are moved. Take photographs of any cuts, scrapes or bruising you have right away before they fade. If there are any witnesses or people that stop and offer assistance at the scene, be sure to get their names and numbers (do not rely on the police to do this for you). If you have a smart phone you could record the scene and any conversations you may have with the at-fault party.
- Seek Timely Medical Care. Ensure you seek medical care as soon as possible if you are injured. If you have pain, that is an injury. Follow the plan of care your doctor establishes and be consistent with your follow up treatment. The longer you wait to seek care, the more complications may arise in your accident claim.
- Keep Good Records. If you have to miss time from work due to your injuries, make sure to keep track of how much time you miss. You can recover lost wages even if you use vacation or sick leave. Keep a record of your pain each day, and how it impacts your physical activities and your emotional well-being. Keep good records on where you sought medical treatment and when.
- Avoid Recorded Statements and Quick Settlements. The at-fault driver’s insurance company may contact you shortly after the wreck and ask for a recorded statement. Avoid giving one (you can find more information on recorded statements by clicking here). They may also offer you a settlement of your injury claim right away. Do not accept any settlement offer until you have completed medical treatment and spoken with an attorney.
- Defend Your Rights. If you have been injured, an attorney may be able to help you protect your rights and ensure you are fairly compensated for your losses after the accident. Most injury attorneys offer free consultations so you can speak with them about what occurred and get an idea of what your options are and whether you need an attorney with no cost to you.