7 Things You Should – and Should Not – Do After a Car Accident
If you have been involved in car accident in Providence, or anywhere throughout Rhode Island, Connecticut or Massachusetts, it is important that you know what you should and should not do.
The actions you take in the aftermath of a car accident can have a dramatic impact on the outcome of your case. It could mean the difference between recovering just compensation and being stuck with paying out-of-pocket for medical expenses, vehicle repairs and other costs related to the accident.
Getting help from the right attorney after a crash can also make a major difference in your financial recovery. At Marasco & Nesselbush, our dedicated team of car accident attorneys has handled thousands of car accident cases throughout Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts. We obtain extraordinary results for our clients by putting their best interests first and holding negligent drivers and their insurance companies accountable.
1. Do not leave the scene.
Do call 911 and wait for authorities to arrive.
If you are involved in an accident, you must remain at the scene until the authorities arrive. Leaving could have serious repercussions, such as criminal charges, fines and jail time for a hit-and-run accident.
Stop and call the police. Even in what seems to be a minor fender-bender, authorities should be called to the scene. Ask for emergency medical assistance if anyone seems to have been injured. This will help make sure you and others receive the urgent medical treatment you need.
A police officer will be able to help secure the scene of the accident and investigate its cause so that a report can be filed. This report could play a crucial role in your claim, though it is important to remember that the police do not decide fault for the purposes of civil liability in car accidents. That is ultimately the court’s role if negotiations fail with the other driver’s insurance company.
While you wait for authorities to arrive, take the opportunity to exchange information with each of the drivers involved in the accident if you are able. Also get contact information from any witnesses. Get names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, insurance providers and policy numbers for the involved parties, as well as the makes, models, years and license plate numbers for the involved vehicles. Also take photos of the accident scene if you are able.
2. Do not downplay any pain.
Do seek medical assistance
While the initial shock of the impact and the increased adrenaline it triggers may prevent you from realizing the full extent of your injuries at first, failing to seek medical attention may complicate your efforts to prove your injuries resulted from the collision.
If you do not believe that you need emergency treatment at the scene, that’s okay, but you should still see a doctor as soon as possible for a thorough medical examination. Let the doctor know that you have been involved in a car accident and fully describe what your body underwent during the incident. This is not the time to play it tough or have a stiff upper lip. Do not downplay your injuries or shrug off any pain you are feeling. Tell the doctor everything. Any details you leave out could not only lead to serious complications and long-term damage to your health, but could also affect your claim for compensation.
3. Do not admit fault for the accident.
Do cooperate with police.
If you have been involved in a car accident, never admit fault, even if you think your actions may have played a contributing role. All of the facts may not be clear to you in the chaos that follows a serious car accident. Control any urges apologize for the accident, and instead proceed in a polite but business-like manner. While it is natural for your emotions to run high after a traumatic event like a crash, also resist the temptation to become angry or confrontational with the other driver. Simply exchange information with the other drivers, cooperate with police, be patient and let your attorney handle the rest.
4. Do not speculate.
Do answer questions from
When being questioned by law enforcement about an accident, it is not uncommon for an accident victim to ramble on about the accident, the events that occurred immediately prior to the crash and pre-existing conditions he or she may have. Many drivers also offer wild speculations about what caused the accident.
While you may think additional information will help, it most likely will not. Be polite and truthfully answer questions from law enforcement, but do not offer more information than is necessary to answer the questions. The less said, the better. Any additional data you provide could be misconstrued, misinterpreted and could have a negative impact on your case.
5. Do not provide a statement to insurers.
Do notify your insurance company.
Before you make any verbal or written statements to your insurance company about the crash, or sign legal documents, you need to seek counsel from a skilled Providence car accident attorney.
Victims should not expect their insurance companies to be eager to pay out a maximum settlement offer. Insurance companies are interested in their bottom line, so they usually offer lowball settlements or try and deflect blame away from their insured. Let your attorney notify your insurance company about the crash. This will help protect your interests and allow you to pursue the true value of your claim.
6. Do not disregard your doctor’s orders.
Do follow through with all treatments and appointments.
After an accident, you should not only seek medical attention from your doctor or another medical professional, but also be sure you do not disregard your doctor’s orders. If you are told you need to take a certain medication, do so. If you are told rehabilitative therapy is required, make sure you go to each of your therapy appointments. If the doctor tells you not to take part in certain activities, follow that advice.
Failing to go to a follow-up appointment or get the necessary treatment could put your claim at risk, as the at-fault driver’s attorney or insurance company may try to make the accusation that your injuries were not as severe as you initially claimed. Following through with doctor’s orders will help you recover from your injuries, and help in proving the validity of your claim.
Remember to keep accurate and complete medical records as well, as this too can have an effect on your claim.
7. Do not accept a quick settlement offer.
Do seek help from a qualified personal injury lawyer.
Insurance companies may be quick to offer a lowball settlement following an accident that was clearly caused by their insured. In many cases, this is done in hopes that they can make your case go away quickly and cheaply by convincing you to accept less than you rightfully deserve. You can protect your interests by rejecting a quick settlement offer. Why should you be stuck paying accident-related expenses, particularly when you were not at fault? If you accept a quick settlement and sign a release, you will likely be barred from recovering additional compensation, even if it turns out that your injuries were far more serious than you initially thought.
Instead, you should seek help from a qualified personal injury attorney before you accept any settlement offer. An experienced lawyer can gather additional evidence, work with accident reconstruction investigators to determine the actual cause of the accident, contact medical experts to help substantiate your injury claims, handle negotiations with your insurance company, and look out for your best interests throughout your case. Your lawyer can also calculate the true value of your losses and seek the maximum compensation you deserve.
Marasco & Nesselbush can help you get the compensation you need for your losses in a serious car accident. We have successfully resolved many cases involving crashes that have permanently altered the lives of innocent people. We are proud of our track record of extraordinary legal results for car accident victims in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Marasco & Nesselbush is committed to securing just compensation for clients to allow them to move beyond devastating injuries and losses. To request a free, confidential case consultation, call us now or fill out our online contact form.