What to Do Right After a Car Accident?
December 30, 2021 | Car Accidents
Sometimes, serious motor vehicle crashes occur at traffic intersections. One motor vehicle driver may be proceeding straight through a green light. A vehicle driving on the same road in the opposite direction may make an illegal left-hand turn or fail to yield the right-of-way to the oncoming vehicle. When that happens, a T-bone accident may occur in the intersection.
In other words, the vehicle going straight collides with the side of the turning vehicle. The vehicle that is going straight obviously has the right-of-way at the intersection, and the vehicle turning left disobeyed a traffic regulation. At this point, in addition to calling 9-1-1, the drivers can protect their rights after the collision before they have a chance to call a lawyer.
Many people who suffer injuries in a car accident don’t know what to do or where to go following the collision. Accident victims are often in serious pain, and they require immediate medical treatment for their injuries. In addition, most people are unsure of how to pursue a personal injury claim to recover compensation for their medical treatment, lost wages, and other damages following their accident.
Always contact a knowledgeable car accident attorney about your case as soon as possible. A lawyer can advise you on how best to safeguard your legal rights and move forward with filing a personal injury claim.
If you are eligible to file a personal injury claim, your attorney can file the claim with the proper insurance company and within the proper time frame. Your lawyer can also negotiate with the insurance company adjuster on your behalf and pursue favorable settlement compensation in your case. If the case needs to go to court, your attorney can represent you at all court proceedings and zealously advocate for your interests.
Call 9-1-1 to Summon a Police Officer and Paramedics to the Accident Scene
Try and remain as calm as possible. Although you may feel shaken up, breathe deeply and do not panic. Then, call 9-1-1 if you can do so. Calling 9-1-1 will summon police, fire, and ambulance services to the scene.
When a police officer arrives at the scene, they may ask how you are doing and if you are okay. If you have symptoms at that time, you should let the police officer and the responding ambulance personnel know what those symptoms are.
If you can, you should give the officer a complete description of what you observed and what you recall happened during the collision. Insist that the police officer prepare a report. This will typically describe how the collision occurred and who caused it. The officer may also put in the report whether they issued the at-fault driver a citation (and if so, what for). The police officer, for example, may have cited the at-fault driver for reckless driving or for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Exchange Information With All Other Drivers in the Accident
In addition to speaking with a police officer in response to the accident, you should exchange contact and insurance information with all of the other involved drivers. You must exchange this information in case an insurance company representative gets in touch with you about the collision.
If the at-fault driver’s insurance company contacts you for a recorded statement, refuse. Insurance companies use recorded statements to trip up accident victims and get them to say something damaging to the case.
Seek Same-Day Medical Treatment
In addition, the paramedics who arrive at the scene will also typically ask the accident victim if they have experienced symptoms and needs to go to the hospital. If you are experiencing symptoms of any kind, go to the hospital in the ambulance from the accident scene. Alternatively, you can have a family member drive you to the hospital from the collision scene.
You should seek this medical treatment right away because even a minor injury can become far more serious if you do not seek treatment. Moreover, if you later file a car accident claim, the insurance company will look skeptically at your injuries if you did not seek prompt, same-day medical care.
When you arrive at the hospital emergency room, the physician on duty can examine and diagnose your condition. Furthermore, the doctor on duty can render emergency medical treatment if necessary. They can also order imaging studies, such as CAT scans, MRIs, and X-rays, to determine if you broke a bone, suffered a muscular sprain or strain, or a head injury.
Finally, the emergency room doctor can make recommendations for follow-up medical treatment, depending upon the severity of your injuries. For example, the hospital healthcare provider can recommend that you follow up with your primary care doctor or with a medical specialist if your symptoms continue.
Call Your Insurance Company
As soon as possible after the collision, you should contact your own insurance company and let them know that you suffered injuries in a recent motor vehicle collision. Tell them what happened and explain your symptoms. If you have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage, your insurance company may pay for a portion of your medical bills and lost wages.
You also want to place your own insurance company on notice of a possible claim if the other driver does not have sufficient insurance coverage. For example, if the at-fault driver did not have adequate insurance at the time of the collision and you suffered a permanent injury or an injury that required significant medical treatment you can turn to your own insurance company to put up the difference.
Speak With a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible
As soon as possible after your car accident, speak with a skilled car accident attorney who consistently works on car accident cases. You want a lawyer advocating for you who regularly deals with insurance companies and litigates them to a conclusion. You also want a lawyer on your side who regularly takes these matters to trial, as well as to mediation and binding arbitration proceedings.
First of all, your attorney can assist you with satisfying the legal burden of proof in your case. Missouri is a fault state or tort-based state when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. Therefore, the accident victim must demonstrate not only that the other driver was negligent but also that they suffered injuries in the accident. An attorney can help you satisfy this legal burden of proof by retaining the necessary experts, such as an accident reconstructionist, car accident investigator, or medical expert to prove that you are entitled to recover damages in the case.
In addition to helping you satisfy the legal elements of your claim, your attorney can guide you through the claims-filing process and deal with the insurance company adjuster on your behalf. The claims-filing process begins when your attorney submits a demand package to the insurance company, and the insurance company accepts fault for the accident. A demand package will include a settlement demand letter, which makes a monetary demand for settlement, along with various documents. Pertinent documentation to a car accident claim will include medical bills, medical records, police reports, photographs of damages, and lost wage statements from the accident victim’s employer, if available.
Once the insurance company adjuster reviews this information, the adjuster and your lawyer can begin negotiating a claim settlement. It will typically take several rounds of negotiations before the insurance company makes a reasonable settlement offer. Never accept the initial settlement offer because it probably won’t cover your losses. In some cases, it takes litigation to convince the insurance company to offer reasonable compensation.
The litigation process begins when your attorney files a complaint in the Missouri court system on your behalf. At that point, the personal injury case can still settle at any point. However, the parties may need to take part in the discovery process. For instance, the parties will typically exchange documents, and the at-fault driver’s lawyer might take the accident victim’s oral deposition to learn more about the case.
After that point, the parties may reach an agreement to settle. If not, the case might go to a jury trial, during which time the jury will decide the outcome of all disputed issues in the case. One heavily disputed issue is usually that of damages. When the parties dispute damages, the jury will decide what, if any, damages the accident victim will receive and the amount of those damages.
A knowledgeable St. Louis car accident attorney can assist you with all aspects of filing a claim and litigating your case in the Missouri court system. Your attorney can also look at other options for your case, such as mediation or binding arbitration, as alternatives to a jury trial. Your attorney will represent you at all legal proceedings and zealously advocate for your interests there.
Pursuing the Damages that You Deserve
In addition to helping you file a claim or lawsuit arising from your car accident, an attorney can help you pursue the damages you need to be financially whole again. Victims of car accidents frequently suffer serious injuries, including soft tissue contusions, broken bones, concussions, internal organ damage, and spinal cord injuries that require medical treatment.
Medical treatment following a car accident can include doctor visits, physical therapy, and surgeries. In addition, injured accident victims may need to miss significant time from work to rehabilitate and fully recover from their injuries, losing a significant amount in wages. A lawyer can handle all of the legal aspects of your claim while you focus on fully recovering from your injuries.
The amounts and types of damages that a car accident victim can recover will depend on several factors. Those factors include the seriousness of the injuries, the extent of the medical treatment, and the cost of the medical treatment. In cases where an accident victim suffers a permanent injury, they may recover more damages than if they suffered a minor injury.
For starters, car accident victims can pursue compensation for their related medical expenses, lost wages, and out-of-pocket costs. In addition, they might be eligible to recover pain and suffering damages, as well as compensation for all of their inconvenience and loss of life enjoyment. If the accident victim suffered a permanent injury, then they can pursue damages for loss of the ability to use a body part. Finally, if the accident victim had to switch careers because of a permanent injury, they can pursue compensation for loss of earning capacity.
A car accident attorney will work to get you the maximum amount of compensation that you deserve for your injuries. In some cases, your attorney might accomplish this goal through settlement, while at other times, you may need litigation to get the compensation you deserve for your accident-related injuries. Either way, the right legal help can make all the difference in your car accident claim.