When a car crash happens, victims are often scared and in shock. They may not know what to do to help ensure their safety and begin pursuing compensation for the damages that they have sustained.
If you were involved in a car accident, contact an experienced Silver Spring car accident attorney at Goldberg Finnegan who can answer your questions and explain your rights. Below, learn some of the do’s and don’ts for victims of car accidents. If you are ever involved in an accident, following these tips can help you defend your rights.
Some of the things that you should do after an accident include:
Reporting the Accident
Even if you think the damage to both vehicles is minimal and you do not feel like you suffered an injury, it is in your best interest to report the accident to the police. A police officer can carefully assess the situation and draft a report that will serve as an official record of the accident. The report may even indicate who the officer believes is at fault for the crash. This can be very strong evidence in a personal injury claim.
If the other driver does not want you to call the police, it may be because he or she does not have insurance or violated traffic laws. He or she may try to convince you that he or she will cover your expenses if you do not report the crash. However, it is in your best interest to report what happened.
Seeking Medical Attention
You might feel fine in the moments and hours after the accident. This might be due to an increase in adrenaline.
However, it is important to get checked out for any injuries by licensed medical professionals. If you wait days or weeks after an accident before seeking medical attention, it can be more difficult to establish the link between the accident and your injuries.
Pictures may be able to tell a story better than any other form of evidence. They can demonstrate how the accident occurred and how you were injured. As soon as you are able, take pictures of the following:
- The accident scene – Take pictures of the exact point of impact, signs around the area and any debris left from the accident.
- Damage to vehicles – Take pictures of your vehicle and the other vehicle to show the damage that resulted from the impact of the collision.
- Your injuries – Photograph your injuries and how they progress over time. This helps to demonstrate the severity of your injuries.
Some things you should not do after an accident include:
Moving Your Vehicle
If possible, leave the vehicle in the spot where it was when the crash occurred. This can help make it clear how the accident happened. However, do not put yourself in danger. If the vehicle is leaking gas or other liquids, give yourself distance from it.
It is important that you do not admit fault after an accident. Avoid saying things like “I’m sorry” or admitting any particular error you might have made. You might not be aware of every factor involved in the accident, like the other driver being impaired or texting while driving. Any admission can be used as evidence against you.
Providing a Recorded Statement
The insurance company might ask you to provide a recorded statement. Anything you say in the recorded statement is likely to be twisted and used against you. Contact a lawyer for assistance and advice before you provide any statements.
Signing Documents from the Insurance Company
The insurance company might send you forms to sign without explaining them to you. For instance, they might want you to sign a form giving them access to your medical records from before the accident. They will try to use these records to claim your injury was the result of a pre-existing condition.
Do not sign anything you receive from the insurance company before seeking legal assistance or you could be signing over important rights. The insurance company is not working for your best interests. It is trying to find a way to pay out the least possible amount of compensation.
Agreeing to a Settlement
At some point, the insurance company may offer you a settlement. However, it might be difficult for you to calculate the full extent of your damages to be able to determine if an offered settlement is fair. A personal injury lawyer can help estimate the value of your claim and handle negotiations with the insurance company. This is why you should never agree to a settlement without speaking to an attorney.
Waiting to Contact a Lawyer
It is imperative that you speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon after an accident as possible. You have a limited amount of time to file a claim, so it is important that you preserve your rights.
The Silver Spring personal injury attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan are experienced at representing accident victims from start to finish. We can explain your rights to you and pursue maximum compensation for the injuries that you have suffered.