What Should I Do Immediately After a Car Accident?
There are hundreds of car accidents that occur in Kentucky every year, with a large percentage of them resulting in serious injuries or death. Despite how common car accidents appear, when you are involved in one, knowing what to do next can feel very foreign and overwhelming, especially if you have sustained serious injuries. After a car accident in Kentucky, following a checklist of things to do can help insure that you not only receive the medical treatment you need and heal to the maximum extent possible, but also that you protect your ability to recover the compensation that you deserve. Consider these things to do immediately after a car accident:
1. Make Sure Everyone in Your Vehicle is OK and Call the Police
Depending upon the location of your car accident, you may need to move your vehicle to a safe location as quickly as possible to ensure that further damage, or an additional accident, does not occur. However, keep in mind that in some circumstances, leaving a vehicle in its post-accident location may be in your best interest, as documenting vehicle positioning could provide critical evidence during the claims process regarding fault and damages.
Regardless of whether you move your vehicle or not, it is imperative that you check to make sure everyone in your vehicle is OK. You should then call the police and report the accident immediately. If anyone in your vehicle is injured, make sure you tell the operator, and they will walk you through what to do while you wait for police to arrive.
2. Gather Evidence While You Wait
If injuries do not prevent you from doing so, use the time while you wait for police to arrive to gather evidence. You should get the other driver’s vehicle information, as well as the driver’s name, insurance information, registration information, driver’s license number, and contact information.
If you have a smartphone or camera handy, photograph vehicles, damages, injuries, debris in the road, weather and lighting conditions, street signs, and any other relevant pieces of evidence.
If there were witnesses to the accident, ask for their name and contact information, as well as a brief statement about what they saw happen. Ask them to wait until police arrive to provide a statement to the police as well.
When police do arrive, be sure to give a statement, and request a copy of the police report.
3. Seek Treatment for Your Injuries
Failing to seek treatment for your injuries as soon as possible following a crash could prove to be detrimental to your claim, as an insurance adjuster may not believe that injuries were sustained in the crash since you failed to seek emergency medical care. Keep a thorough record of all medical treatment you receive, and be sure to follow your doctor’s orders precisely. If you do not follow your doctor’s order, an insurance adjuster may undervalue your claim, claiming that your condition/injuries have not improved as a result of your own actions.
4. File a Claim
While seeking medical care should be your top priority, particularly if you have severe injuries that necessitate emergency treatment, the next thing you should do is file a claim with your insurance adjuster. You are obligated to provide an insurance company with enough time to fully investigate your accident in order to process your claim; if you fail to report your accident within a timely manner, your claim may be denied.
When you speak with an insurance adjuster, be sure that you understand the best way to protect your ability to recover your full compensation amount. Never exaggerate injuries or the cause of any accident, and do not be afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when you are unsure of the answer to a question. Most importantly, do not agree to give a recorded statement, or sign any documents, without consulting with an attorney first.
Keep in mind that if you file a lawsuit, you must do so within one year from the date of injury, so it is important to start the claims process early.
5. Contact a Knowledgeable Kentucky Car Accident Attorney
As soon as you are able to, it is in your best interests to contact a knowledgeable Kentucky car accident attorney. Even if you do not believe your injuries to be severe enough to warrant legal help, an attorney can help you to prove fault, gather evidence, and file a claim in a manner that ensures that you recover compensation for all losses you have suffered. Your attorney can also help you to seek recompense for damages like pain, suffering, lost wages, psychological harm, and more.
At the offices of Slechter Law Firm, we urge you to heed the advice above when you are in a car crash, and to contact us as soon as possible, especially when you, or a loved one, are seriously injured. Our experienced Kentucky auto accident lawyers have been working for those in our community for two decades, and have a history of successfully negotiating car accident claims and achieving fair settlements for our clients. Contact our office today at (502) 384-7400.