No one ever plans on a car accident right? We go about our lives doing everyday things like delivering the kids to various practices and grabbing groceries or running errands when out of nowhere, “Bam.” Everything stops and all of a sudden you have to switch gears and deal with a huge inconvenience. We at Jones Brown PLLC. want to make sure that you are protected and know what to do in case of a car wreck.
There were over 6 million reported accidents in the US last year, and that number continues to climb every year. The number of drivers and passengers injured in those 6 million accidents was on the rise as well. More than 2.5 million people were injured in a car accident last year.
Motor vehicle accidents are not only traumatic they are also pitfalls of devastation to both the body and the pocketbooks of those injured. The physical and emotional pain involved is often aggravated by the consequences that come after, which can include injury recovery, financial obstacles, time off work, legal concerns, and of course vehicle repair (possibly replacement). Let us not forget the emotional aspect that a accident can cause. Emotions like confusion, fear, anger, and frustration may set in, leaving motorists and passengers in a daze for days and weeks after.
For so many of us our plates are full, and something as inconvenient and possibly devastating as a car crash can just about put us over the edge. Few people are equipped to handle such a disaster, so it’s crucial to have a resource to turn to and count on.
We at Jones Brown PLLC. are that resource and we want to make sure that you and your loved ones know how to process your accident in the most efficient way possible. This guide will take you through the most common obstacles associated with car crashes, including injury recovery, dealing with insurance companies, legal expectations, and more.
Here we will cover the actions you should take within the first week of your crash. The decisions you make in the first week following an accident could have critical and long-lasting effects on your future. Here are some dos and don’ts for you.
Moments After the Crash
- Call 911 and report accident and if there are any injured parties on the scene.
- Move yourself and your vehicle (if possible) to a safe place off of the roadway and out of any further danger
- Start gathering information. There is no such thing as “too much” when it comes to information. Full name, tag numbers, driver licence numbers, insurance information, e-mail addresses, home, work and cell, numbers. If there are any witnesses that have stopped get their contact information as well. Take as many photos and/or videos as you can. These could be invaluable for your attorney, insurance companies or police especially if you have moved your vehicles from their original position.
- At no time should you admit fault. The fault in a accident is for the police and insurance to determine. Gather your information but at no time should you discuss who the fault might lay upon.
Document Your Injuries and Other Evidence
Be sure that you take plenty of photos of yourself and of the scene. Any scrapes, bumps or bruises should be photographed as well as the crash scene it’s self. Look in and at the other car. Do you see and beer cans or liquor bottles? Drug paraphernalia or drugs themselves? Is their tag missing? Do you smell alcohol or marijuana coming from the other driver? Document everything.
What If Your Crash Was Hit And Run?
What if the other person involved in the accident leaves the scene? In this case you have limited options, other than calling the police and gathering all your information that you can. Try and find a witness, someone else who saw the accident and will perhaps give a statement to the police when they arrive on scene. Even if you never find that hit and run driver, you still could potentially obtain compensation:
Under Insured and Uninsured Motorists
Your crash may have been a relatively simple one driver accident with very clear fault or it could have been a massive collision involving multiple cars and drivers. Whatever the case may be you need a source of money to get paid. But what if the liable parties do not have enough insurance coverage or worse, has no insurance at all to pay for damages to you, your car, or your future?
Hopefully, you already have under-insured motorist and uninsured motorist coverage of your own insurance plan. If you don’t then look into adding it to your existing coverage plan. This coverage will allow your own insurance to pay for damage caused by underinsured (or uninsured) drivers.
Even if the other driver lacks insurance AND your own coverage doesn’t apply, you may still be able to obtain compensation in other manners. For instance, suing the driver’s employer, if he or she had been driving a company car or had been on a work trip when the crash occurred. Remember a qualified attorney can protect your ability to get compensation through your insurance or through some other means.
Seek Medical Help Immediately Following Auto Accident
If you have obvious injuries such as broken bones or a gash in your leg or face then obviously you are going to see a doctor. But if you have the feeling that you could be injured, seek the advice of a qualified medical professional as soon as possible.
Signs that you might need medical help
- Weakness, numbness or tingling in your arms or legs.
- Bloody nose or blood coming out of your ears
- Headache or fatigue following the accident that won’t go away.
- Bruises forming on your head, particularly near your ear.
- Trouble swallowing, eating, seeing or hearing.
- Chest or abdominal pain.
- Neck pain.
- Sharp pain anywhere in your body, particularly in the head, neck and abdomen.
People for some reason will tell them selves that they ar not that hurt and do not need to see a doctor. This is not the way you should be thinking. Take a concussion for instance. The effects from a concussion might not show up for a few days after the accident so it is always a good idea to get checked out just in case after all auto accidents. Make notes of any treatment you get. Ask a family member or a friend who was NOT in the accident to help you keep track of what you need to do.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
The Insurance companies response to an accident will depend on the severity of said accident. If the crash was serious, widely publicized or led to serious injuries or damages then the legal and insurance providers may start “working” the claim immediately. If you are contacted by a Insurance company after an accident please remember: Before you discuss your case with an insurance company representative, find and retain an attorney. Avoid admitting things that could hurt your claim. The Insurance company is NOT on your side. No matter what your personal insurance agent might say or what the commercial may say on TV, be assured that their only interest is themselves.
Do You Need An Attorney?
There is one simple answer to this question. YES. Do not try and take this on all by yourself. It takes years of study, and years of experience, to learn how to handle the complex legal processes that can unfold after a crash. Insurance companies are good at what they do so you will need a seasoned attorney who will know how to identify and prevent insurance company tricks and also provide you a sense of stability and peace of mind as the process goes forward.
Contacting the Attorneys Here at Jones Brown PLLC.
Regardless of what type of accident resulted in your injury, no case is too minor or complicated for our office. Here are some of the common types of cases we handle: driver negligence, impairment, or recklessness, dangerous road conditions rear-end collision, construction zone accident, drunk driving, hit and run accident, etc.
We are also experienced with defective automobiles or parts, such as: airbag defect, defective tires, unintended acceleration, child seat defects, crash worthiness, defective seat, window or door, fire or explosion, roof crush, seat belt failures, faulty door latches, etc.
It’s important to know and understand your rights and obligations when you have been injured at the expense of another person. Insurance companies are in the business to make money and are not after your best interest.
The attorneys and staff at Jones Brown are here to work with you every step of the way and simplify interactions with the insurance company to ensure your reach a settlement that covers the true cost of your accident.
No matter what type of accident you were in, you likely have questions. Take a few minutes to fill out our automobile accident evaluation by CLICKING HERE.