What To Do If I've Been Injured In A Car Accident?

Every year, there are almost 7 million police-reported motor vehicle crashes, including roughly 2 million that result in permanent injury. If you're one of the people who has recently experienced a car accident, you may be wondering what to do next.

To guide you through the process, the personal injury attorneys at Erie Injury are here to help. In this piece, we'll review the steps you need to take to ensure you're safety, avoid the deceptiveness of claims adjusters, and ultimately, improve your chances of receiving a fair settlement.

Remain Calm

Getting in a car accident is frightening, and the sudden surge of adrenaline can make it difficult to accurately evaluate the scene. To help remain calm, try to breathe deeply and evenly to quell your "fight or flight" response. Often, if you're able to regulate your blood pressure and heart rate in a stressful situation, you'll make better decisions.

Call 911

With increased levels of adrenaline, it's often difficult to determine if you're injured. In fact, many people don't realize they're injured until hours or even days after the crash. However, it's critical that you receive medical attention as soon as possible. Should you need to sue for your injuries, it's also beneficial to have a record of the accident that starts just moments after it occurred. 

Check for Injuries

While you're awaiting emergency medical services (EMS) and the police, take note of any visible injuries that you or your passengers may have sustained. You may see burns, broken bones, or lacerations. If you can do so without making your injury worse or endangering your passengers, take photos of your injuries with your smartphone. 

However, it's important to realize that many injuries aren't immediately apparent. Not only does the adrenaline from the accident pull your focus away from pain, but internal injuries such as concussions, spinal cord injuries, and organ damage will require an evaluation from a medical professional.

Depending on the accident, the following steps may change. If you're taken to the hospital immediately for severe injuries, the police will acquire as much information as possible at the scene. But, if you can, the following steps can help your case.

Secure the Scene

If a passenger is seriously injured or someone has been killed, you should leave the car where it is. On the other hand, if you can move the vehicle without further hurting yourself or someone else, you should move it, especially if it's blocking traffic.

However, because photos can be so essential in proving the fault of an accident and earning a proper settlement, you should try to take a picture of the scene before moving your vehicle. Please note, taking a picture may not be possible due to traffic, injuries, and other environmental circumstances.

Exchange Information (Safely)

After an accident, it’s absolutely essential to exchange information if you’re able to do so without further injuring yourself or others. Pennsylvania law requires drivers in accidents to share their:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • License plate number
  • Driver license number
  • Auto insurance information

Please note: You should not allow the other driver to take a picture of your license. Doing so may put your identity at risk.

Document the Details

Whether you use a pen and paper or the notes app on your phone, it’s helpful to take notes on how the accident happened, the road conditions, and any other details you think of. Also, look around to see if there are any witnesses. If there are, take down their names and numbers. 

Receive Medical Attention

EMS may begin treating your injuries at the scene of the accident. But it's absolutely essential to go to your doctor or the emergency room for further examination. Injuries, such as concussions, whiplash, and internal bleeding, demand prompt medical attention but aren't always easy to identify at the scene.

Even if you don't feel like you've been hurt, you should still be seen by a medical professional. During a traumatic accident, your body releases adrenaline/epinephrine that could temporarily mask your pain. Plus, documentation from the hospital will be helpful later.

Remember to keep all your doctor's bills and other accident-related receipts. An attorney will use this information to help you determine a proper settlement. 

Reach out to an Attorney ASAP

Speak to an experienced personal injury attorney with ample experience in car accident cases. We recommend you reach out before talking with a claims adjuster from your insurance company or the other driver's insurance company.

Whereas a claims adjuster is ultimately looking out for the insurance company’s best interests, your attorney will be looking out for yours. They’ll also be able to guide you through the rest of the lawsuit/claims process which can become exceedingly complicated.

Moreover, research shows that working with an attorney often results in a payout three to four times as much as not working with one. So why not reach out to a personal injury attorney today?

A Better Settlement

Erie Injury has been helping victims in Erie seek compensation for their injuries since 1985. It has grown to become one of Erie's most effective personal injury law firms. If you would like to see how we can help you, reach out for a free consultation today. 

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