Car accidents, whether a fender-bender or a more serious wreck, are a traumatic experience. The aftermath of an accident impacts you emotionally, physically, and financially. Seeking legal advice from an experienced car accident attorney is critical, but there are additional steps you can take to protect your health and strengthen your claim.
Check for Injuries and Seek Medical Care
Your health and that of your passengers are the top priority after an accident. The first step after an accident is to check if you or your passengers sustained any injuries. Then, call 911 if emergency medical services are needed. Even though you may initially feel fine, it does not mean you are not injured. Adrenaline or endorphins can numb the pain to protect you during trauma. Unfortunately, it is common for accident victims to believe they have no injuries, only to start hurting hours or even days after the incident. This often leads to people not seeking treatment and their injuries worsening.
A common mistake accident victims make is believing they do not have a concussion because they didn’t hit their head. According to the CDC, whiplash is enough to cause your brain to impact your skull and cause a concussion. It is best to call an ambulance, even if you have no pain and don’t believe you hit your head. You still may have sustained a serious injury.
Call Law Enforcement
Police provide an official record of what happened after a car accident. In most cases, the law enforcement officer will determine liability and issue a ticket to the negligent party. This prevents any future attempts by the at-fault party from trying to change their story. Having an officer on the scene can also assist with directing emergency services to the accident in case of any injuries. Police are experienced in handling car accidents, and they can help you get all the relevant information you need from the other parties involved.
Obtain Proof of Insurance from All Parties Involved
Arizona law requires all drivers to have valid insurance, including drivers of golf carts, motorcycles, and mopeds. After a car accident, obtaining the other driver’s insurance information is crucial to filing a claim for the damages suffered, which may include medical care, lost wages, and other damages caused by the wreck. When you review the insurance verification card, confirm the expiration date has not passed, and the insurance is valid. If possible, it is helpful to take a photo of the insurance card.
It can create significant difficulties if the negligent driver provides an expired insurance card or fake information. To add further protection for yourself, obtain the name, address, and telephone number of all drivers, passengers, and witnesses to the accident.
Talk To Witnesses
The negligent driver may remember the accident very differently from you, especially when trying to avoid liability or to prevent an increase in their insurance premiums. Additionally, to help prevent an accident from becoming a “he-said-she-said” situation, take note of any witnesses to the accident. Get their contact information and ask what they saw in case the other party attempts to change their story. Give this information to your insurance representative or car accident lawyer so they can strengthen your claim and prevent the other party from escaping fault.
It is very helpful if you can take pictures after a car accident of the damage to all vehicles involved. Pictures help tell the story of what happened in the accident, they can help identify the vehicles and people involved, and they prevent any party from adding damage to their vehicle after the fact. Remember to take a picture of the other driver’s license plate and any nearby traffic controls also.
If you sustained injuries, regardless of how minor, it is wise to take photos as soon as possible. You may also want to take follow-up photos to detail how your injuries progress. Your auto accident lawyer can provide you with advice on how to handle documenting your injuries by yourself or with a medical professional.
According to Triple-A, there is a hit-and-run in the US every 43 seconds, adding up to over 700,000 cases a year. If you are a victim of a negligent driver leaving the scene of your accident, check for any injuries and get medical attention if needed. Afterward, take written notes of all relevant details of the crash. This includes location, details of the vehicle that hit you, damages, witnesses, CCTV cameras, the time, weather, tire marks, and anything else that can help locate the guilty party. The smallest details can assist law enforcement or a private investigator in finding the vehicle that struck you.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
Insurance companies often put profit over people. Not only do they attempt to underpay for damages to your vehicle, but they may also avoid paying your medical bills, leaving you to bear the cost alone. A lawyer will be your advocate, so you aren’t paying for bills that should be covered by insurance.
Garrison Law Firm Is Fighting for Justice in Arizona
We will fight for you if an insurance company refuses to give you the money you are owed. Garrison Law has been bringing justice to the citizens of Arizona for over 30 years. Contact us, so we can fight for you to obtain the just and fair compensation you are entitled to from the insurance companies. Being through a car accident is different so let us bring you peace of mind.