There is often a lot of confusion, fear and uncertainty after an accident that results in a personal injury. You may be unsure about what steps to take to ensure your health and safety and begin to build a case against the party that caused your injury.
Below, there is a list of steps you can take to help protect your best interests in the aftermath of an accident. For additional assistance, contact the trusted Silver Spring personal injury lawyers at Goldberg Finnegan.
Get Medical Treatment
If you suspect that you have sustained an injury, the first thing that you should do is seek medical treatment. If it is an emergency, call 9-1-1 so an ambulance will be dispatched to your location. Seeking medical treatment immediately may help improve your chances of making a full recovery. It also allows doctors to document your injuries and note they were caused by the accident in your medical records. Establishing a connection between your injury and the accident is a crucial part of your personal injury claim.
Request copies of your medical records and provide them to your personal injury lawyer, including the following:
- Admissions records
- Doctors’ notes
- CAT scans
- Prescription bottles
- Receipts of over-the-counter medications and assistive devices
- All medical bills
Collect Evidence at the Scene
If you are able to stay at the scene of the accident, try to collect evidence. Once you leave the scene, evidence is likely to be cleaned up, moved or altered in some way. This is why it is so important to collect whatever you can in the minutes after the accident, while you are waiting for the police or an ambulance.
Take notes about what you observe and factors that could have contributed to the accident. Write down important details about the accident, including the date and time that it occurred. Write down whether there was bad weather or poor road conditions at the time of the accident. If you wait to take these notes, you may forget important details. It is best to write down this information as soon after the accident as possible while your memory is fresh.
You should also ask any witnesses who saw the accident what they remember. Jot down their contact information so that your personal injury lawyer can contact them later. Take note if there were any traffic or security cameras in the area. Your lawyer may be able to get the footage to determine what occurred.
If you have your smartphone, take pictures of the accident scene and other factors related to the accident, including:
- Debris on the roadway, such as debris from vehicles, broken guardrails or tire tracks on the road
- Damage to your vehicle and any property nearby
- Damage to any other vehicles or persons involved in the accident
- Wide span pictures that depict the entire accident scene
- Any nearby traffic signs
- Your injuries as they progress over time
Contact the Police
For any accidents that resulted in injuries or property damage, you must contact the police. A law enforcement officer will document the accident and his or her observations about its cause in a police report. The officer will also note if the other driver received any type of citation for breaking traffic laws. This information can help you advance your claim.
File an Insurance Claim
It is important that you attempt to file an insurance claim to receive compensation for the damages that you have suffered, such as:
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
When making your claim, stick to the facts. Avoid making any statements that involve an opinion, such as how the accident happened or that require an estimation such as the speed at which you were traveling.
Consider not signing anything until you talk to an experienced lawyer. Insurance companies are notorious for trying to get victims to agree to a settlement or sign a document stating what happened in the accident. They do this because they are trying to find a way to deny or devalue your claim. Insurance adjusters are not serving your best interests, their goal is to pay out the least possible amount of compensation for your damages.
Consider Talking to a Lawyer
If you were injured by someone else’s negligence, contact a lawyer who handles cases like yours. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan are experienced at advancing all kinds of personal injury claims, including car accident claims, slips and falls, defective product claims and others.
We can help you gather evidence to support your claim and handle all communications with the insurance company. Our talented legal team works on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we do not get paid unless we help you recover for your claim. We also charge no upfront fees, so there is no risk in contacting us to learn about your legal options.