Steps to Take After a Car Accident
A car accident can be startling and stressful, and in some cases can cause serious injuries and damage. Although no one plans to be in one, accidents happen every day, but by taking care of some simple steps, you can help make sure you protect your ability to recover compensation. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, these are some of the steps you should consider taking in order to preserve your legal rights.
Steps to Take While You Are at the Scene of the Accident
Before you leave the scene of the accident, be sure you preserve important evidence in your case. First and foremost, move to a safe location and call 911. Report the accident to the authorities, and call an ambulance if needed so that you can get checked out for any injuries. Remember that even if you feel perfectly fine on the scene, some injuries can take hours, days, or even weeks to develop and manifest. If possible and you feel that it is needed, go to a hospital or urgent care provider in order to be evaluated and treated immediately for any injuries. Remain calm, and avoid discussing what happened with the other party involved — and definitely do not make any statements that can be construed as an admission of fault.
While at the scene, speak with any witnesses and take down their contact information. If possible, ask them to record or write down a short statement of their accounts showing what happened; also take a moment to do this yourself while the accident is still fresh in your mind. Take pictures to document the scene, the vehicles involved, any damage to the vehicles, and any injuries you’ve suffered.
Steps to Take in the Days Following the Accident
After the accident, call your own insurance company to report it and discuss any damage and personal injuries you have suffered. When it comes to the other party’s insurance provider, however, you should not give a statement to them until you have had a chance to consult with an experienced attorney. You should seek legal advice from a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who can discuss your rights, options, and potential next steps.
Also, seek medical care for your injuries from trusted medical providers. It is of utmost importance that you focus on your recovery from any injuries and conditions that arise from the accident. Additionally, obtain any documentation, such as police reports and accounts of the accident, as soon as they are available.
Steps to Take in the Weeks and Months Following the Accident
After the accident, work with your attorney to file a claim against the parties responsible and their insurance companies. Most often, your claim will be for negligence, which requires you to prove both liability — that the other party was at fault, directly causing your injuries — and damages. Your damages can include both compensation for out-of-pocket expenses, such as medical bills and repairs to your vehicle, and general damages, such as your pain and suffering, lost wages if you cannot work as a result of the accident, and the overall decline to the quality of your life.
Be sure you keep careful track of any documents, correspondence, and reports that pertain to the accident. Also keep track of bills and invoices that show your expenses, including any medical bills, hospital stays, therapy visits, and repairs to your vehicle. You might also want to keep a journal that follows your recovery and lists the symptoms and pain levels you are experiencing each day or week, as this can help prove some of your general damages.
In the time period following the accident, and especially while your claims are pending, take care not to post anything on social media — nor share any information about your case elsewhere — that could jeopardize confidentiality, and do not discuss your case with anyone without first consulting with your attorney.
How Can Johnson Garcia Help with Your Car Accident Case?
A car accident lawsuit can quickly become complicated, and the help of an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney can be invaluable. Your attorney can help negotiate with the other party and their insurance company toward a fair and reasonable settlement. They can also help put together a strong case on your behalf, should a settlement not result and you need to go to trial.
The attorneys at Johnson Garcia have many years of experience in helping victims of car accidents obtain sizable settlements and resolve their claims. We have earned a reputation as one of the leading personal injury law firms serving Houston, TX, and neighboring communities. If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another party, call our Houston-based legal team at Johnson Garcia. We can be reached by phone at 832-844-6700.