What to Do After Being Involved in a Car Accident
Car accidents are common, and thousands of motorists are involved in car crashes each year. Becoming the victim of a car crash may seem unavoidable, but practicing safe driving habits can minimize your chances of causing a car accident.
Because we can’t control what other drivers decide to do when they get behind the wheel, understanding what steps to take if you’re in a car crash can help you protect your right to pursue compensation.
Following a car crash, you may feel stressed and have to deal with concerns such as the cost of repairing your vehicle or treating injuries you’ve sustained.
Our experienced auto accident lawyers can help you navigate the tricky legal process and deal with insurance providers who are only looking to make a profit. Seek the advice of a car accident attorney to ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation you need to cover the cost of your injuries or damage to your vehicle.
What Are Some Common Causes of Car Accidents?
Several factors may contribute to a motor vehicle collision. The most common reason for an auto accident is driver error or reckless behavior. Injured victims of car accidents involving negligent drivers have a right to seek compensation for their losses and injuries. Here are some of the most common causes of car crashes:
One of the leading causes of motor vehicle crashes is driver inattention. When a cell phone or other passengers distract a driver, they risk the safety of other drivers and pedestrians. Driving while distracted can cause a serious crash that results in injuries or even fatalities.
Drowsy or fatigued driving
When a driver gets behind the wheel and is experiencing fatigue or drowsiness, they risk causing an accident. A drowsy or fatigued driver faces visual, motor, and cognitive impairments that often lead to slower reactions and confused decision-making, contributing to a crash.
Consuming alcohol or taking drugs before driving is illegal. Whether the drugs you consume are illegal or an over-the-counter prescription, having your senses dulled in any way will present a concern when you decide to get behind the wheel. You risk causing a major collision if you choose to drive, knowing that your coordination, judgment, or motor skills are impaired.
Exceeding the speed limit is dangerous, and you put the lives of other drivers at risk whenever you decide to speed. A driver who speeds down highways or city streets does not have enough time to react to changing road conditions, especially when it’s raining, snowing, or there’s ice on the ground. Accidents involving driving at excessive speeds often lead to high-impact crashes that result in catastrophic consequences.
What You Should Do After a Car Crash
Car accidents can be stressful, which is why it is so important to know what to do in the aftermath of being involved in a motor vehicle collision. The first thing you should do after a car accident is to seek medical treatment and call local authorities.
When the responding officer shows up at the accident scene, they will create a police report that will serve as an essential piece of evidence in your case. Next, collect the contact and insurance information from any other drivers involved in the accident.
You should also collect the names and contact information of any witnesses. Taking pictures of the accident, including any damage your vehicle has sustained, is a great way to build your case.
Take pictures of your injuries. Seek medical treatment promptly, and be sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations for treatment or physical therapy. Not only will receiving proper treatment allow you to recover faster but obtaining records of your doctor’s visits, cost of surgical procedures, and prescription medication, can add valuable support to your claim.
An insurance adjuster will typically contact you after the accident. Refrain from speaking with an adjuster or anyone else from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Instead, put your trust in a car accident attorney who has experience negotiating claims with insurance adjusters.
What are some common types of injuries that result from a car accident?
Several injuries can result from car collisions, the most common being:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Superficial abrasions
- Fractured or broken bones
- Head or neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
High-impact collisions often lead to more serious consequences like paraplegia or other fatal injuries. Minor car accidents, however, tend to result in injuries that a car accident victim might not be aware of right away. Whiplash is one such injury where symptoms may not appear for up to ten days after the accident.
What types of compensation can I hope to recover after a car accident?
Because every car accident is different, the amount and type of compensation you will receive in your claim will depend on the unique circumstances of your case. Some examples of the types of compensation you can receive after filing a car accident claim are:
- Existing medical costs
- Future health-care-related expenses
- Accommodations for temporary or permanent disability
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs
- General loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death
- Emotional pain and suffering
When should I consider hiring a lawyer after a car accident?
When the insurance company presents you with an initial settlement offer that you feel is far less than what you deserve, you should consider speaking with one of our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys who can evaluate your case.
An experienced car accident lawyer can expertly navigate the tricky insurance claims and settlements process on your behalf. If you’re hoping to obtain the maximum amount of compensation available in your claim, hire an attorney trained to negotiate a fair settlement for you and provide you with the most desirable outcome in your case.
What should I do if the at-fault driver has little or no insurance?
Having uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your insurance policy can be beneficial when you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. If you don’t carry this type of insurance, talk to a lawyer about your options for collecting compensation.
Should I continue to drive my car after an accident?
Having your vehicle inspected after an accident is essential. Even if your car has only sustained a few scratches, a vehicle inspection from a reputable auto repair mechanic will prove to be a necessary part of your case. Make sure you take photos of the damage and get an estimate or bill from the mechanic or body shop that your car accident lawyer can use to recover your economic damages.