Things To Do Soon After A Car Accident
If you are reading this you have probably already left the scene of the collision so I will not detail all of the things to do in the first hour after the accident. Immediate actions after a motor vehicle accident are important but there are many long-term concerns about what to do in the days and months after the accident. You can spend some time thinking about what you will do immediately after an accident if it ever happens again but that is water under the bridge and now is the time to think about what to do next.
Obtain the police report for your accident as soon as possible
The information you need to contact insurance companies is on the report. Also, you need to know what the investigating officer had to say. Their determination of fault carries a lot of weight. The police are normally impartial observers who have been trained to investigate accidents thoroughly. Their report will contain information about the road, traffic control devices as well as the names of witnesses and their statements. You should also obtain an individual accident report. Each driver is required to fill out their own report in Nebraska whenever there is more than one thousand dollars of damage or when anyone has been injured.
If you were injured get to the doctor right away
Sometimes it is obvious at the scene of an accident that you have been injured. Then you probably took an ambulance ride to the hospital or got another ride to the hospital the first day. Other times it is less obvious that you were hurt. Accidents are exciting and stressful events. You can be cut and bleeding and not even notice it for a while. Often you have to settle down and stiffen up before you even determine that you were injured. As soon as you decide that you were hurt and you think you would benefit from the medical treatment you should go to the hospital or to the doctor. Delayed onset of symptoms is normal. If it has been a couple of days before you notice that you are having pain, do not ignore it. As an attorney, I am always thinking about injuries in a couple of different ways. First, you need effective treatment to ensure you will make the best possible recovery from your injuries. Second, you should be aware of the fact that you are responsible for creating a record of your injuries and documenting them. If you suffer in silence and do not seek help, there will be no way to prove that you were injured later. Without appropriate treatment, you may not recover as well or as quickly from your injuries. An insurance adjuster or a jury will not take your injuries very seriously if you were not hurt badly enough to seek medical attention.
Go to the body shop or to the city impound lot and take pictures. If you were thinking at the scene of the accident it would be useful to have pictures of all of the vehicles involved, the road and the people involved. Even if you were not able to get pictures immediately, there are still things you can do to document the accident. Taking pictures of the road and the scene of the accident is useful. Often there are still skid marks and debris a while later. Get a lot of pictures of your car. Close shots and further away. Even take pictures of the interior of the car. You might have to open a door and get back a little bit to get good pictures. The property settlement is normally completed soon after the accident so you should take pictures as soon as possible before the car is moved and you lose access to it. Also, it is good to take pictures of yourself showing your injuries. People hate to have their pictures taken when they are not looking good. It helps to convince an insurance company or a jury that you were hurt when they can see that you were cut or bruised.
All of these pictures you take should not end up on Facebook or other social media. Insurance companies like to check your social media postings to get evidence to use against you. Also, you should not post any pictures of yourself from the time of the accident until the conclusion of your injury claim. Insurance adjusters or opposing counsel can use any pictures you post against you. A picture of you with family or friends looking happy can be used to say that you were feeling fine and that you were not hurt badly. Juries can buy into that kind of argument even if it is not really fair. Of course, you do not spend your whole life in tears after you have an accident. You should be aware of the problem and avoid giving anyone rope to hang you with.
Take notes and keep a journal
It is best to write down notes about any way that the accident affects you on a daily basis. Write a note to yourself whenever you decide not to go out to do something with friends or family because you are not feeling well. When you have a hard time doing housework or picking up your kids write it down. Write down the time and place you went for every medical appointment. This is how you create a record and remember the details about how the accident affected your life.
Keep copies of all bills and receipts you get for accident-related expenses. Also, keep any correspondence you get from doctors’ offices or insurance companies. If you get a letter from Medicaid or Medicare or anyone else, keep it. You should start a file to keep all accident-related materials. You could need them later.
This is a partial list of things to think about after the accident. Nothing can really replace the informed advice of an experienced injury lawyer. At the Montag Law Office, we specialize strictly in motor vehicle accident injury claims. We have helped thousands of people like you through difficult times. Steven Montag is available 7 days a week for free initial consultations. Call toll free at (800) 533-0067 to discuss your case. We serve all of Nebraska and have offices in Lincoln and Omaha to serve you.