The moments that follow a car crash are a mess of adrenaline, confusion, and frustration. One minute you are traveling down the road on your way; the next, you find yourself on the side of the road, possibly injured, and unsure of what will happen next.
Knowing the most common occurrences after a car accident and the best approach to handle them can help you successfully navigate the aftermath and increase your chance of getting the compensation you need. Reach out to a car accident lawyer.
Expect the Possibility of Injuries
When a car crash occurs, it is common for one or multiple people involved to sustain some injury. The severity of the crash, the force involved, the safety features in the car, and the physical vulnerabilities of the people affected all impact the type and extent of injuries that can occur.
The National Safety Council estimates that 4.8 million people sought medical care for injuries they sustained in car accidents in 2020. Of course, even more people suffered injuries that did not require medical care or did not report that they were due to a car accident, and there was a drastic reduction in the number of cars on the road in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Preliminary data suggests that car crashes increased and injuries worsened in 2021 and 2022 as everyone began driving more.
Car accident injuries can take time to show symptoms and appear. Even if you leave the scene feeling fine, remain alert in the hours and days ahead for worsening pain, cognitive changes, and other symptoms. Any indication that you may have an injury warrants a trip to the emergency room or your doctor for an evaluation and treatment. Earlier treatment will ensure a better outcome for your health, and medical documentation of your injuries close to the time of the accident is valuable for any legal claims you may need to make.
Expect to Seek Treatment for Your Injuries
You should be evaluated by a doctor for any harm that you suffer from a car crash, no matter the severity. You may be reluctant to head to the emergency room due to cost, but don’t be – your no-fault insurance in Michigan must cover the cost of this visit. Even if you do not think your injuries are very significant, doctors can look into common injuries that are not as obvious right away and ensure you get timely treatment.
Treatment and recovery from car accident injuries can take weeks, months, or even years. Expect to follow up with doctors, specialists, and physical or occupational therapists after a visit to the emergency room following a car crash. Insurance companies will look into your treatment to see if you have done everything you can to recover from your injuries.
Expect Impacts on Your Daily Life
Many people are unaware of the level of disruption that a car accident injury can cause in their life following a crash. Recovering from these injuries can sometimes require hospital visits, stays, surgeries, and rehabilitation. Once you get home, you may still need various therapies, treatments, and care as you heal.
Throughout the healing process, you may be in pain and unable to function to your full capacity. This may prevent you from working and fulfilling your daily life obligations for yourself and your family.
The emotional, physical, and financial burdens that can happen after a car accident are considerable. Trying to handle the surprising effects of an accident on your life can become overwhelming, especially when you must also try to figure out how to fight for the money you need to cover your losses.
What Should I Avoid After a Crash?
The decisions and actions you take after a car accident can affect your insurance claim. Learning what common circumstances to avoid after a car accident can help you prepare and protect yourself as you move forward following a crash. The following are some easy guidelines on what to avoid in the days after a crash.
Avoid Communications With the Insurance Companies
The insurers will call you and pressure you into speaking with them sooner rather than later. They may tell you that talking with them as soon as possible helps move your case along quickly, but if you are not ready and have not sought the help of a lawyer, doing so can cause problems for you. Contrary to what the insurance company representatives may communicate to you, you are not under any obligation to speak with them.
Your only responsibility after a motor vehicle accident regarding an insurer is to inform your own insurance company that an accident occurred. When notifying your insurer about the collision, you only need to mention basic details such as the date of the accident, the approximate time of the crash, the location, and the parties involved. You should not delve into what you think happened, the events leading to the crash, or your injuries.
Avoid Making Any Statements to Other Parties
You should not talk to anyone or make any statements regarding what happened unless it is an attorney you hire to represent you. Comments or communications between you and parties at the crash scene can become evidence in your case.
At-fault parties, insurers, and witnesses can recount any statements you make regarding the accident in court. Statements regarding any physical condition, your actions, or even an apology can become evidence for the insurer to claim that you are somehow responsible for the collision or that your injuries are not what you report them to be.
Avoid Rushing Your Recovery Timeline
Recovery from car accident injuries can be painful, complex, and unpredictable. It can take time after a crash, from days to weeks, to begin understanding the extent of your injuries. Even then, you may not yet have healed from your injuries, and the length of your recovery could fluctuate depending on complications and other issues.
Rushing your recovery could jeopardize your health and affect the amount of money you may be eligible for under the law. Skipping appointments and refusing treatments or procedures can all be evidence used by an insurer to show that a victim is interfering with their healing process and potentially causing further damage and injury.
What Should You Do After a Crash?
Knowing what you should not do after a car accident can help you avoid complications in your case, but it is also helpful to know what you can do to help fight for the compensation you need after sustaining damages in a crash. It is best to take action as soon as possible after a collision to protect your legal rights and put you in the best position possible going into the insurance claims process.
Always Call the Police and Report the Accident
Always call the authorities when you are involved in a car accident. There is too much at stake not to contact the police at the crash scene or immediately after. If you are injured enough that you must go to the hospital in an ambulance, you may not be able to speak to the police at the scene, but they will follow up with you in the hours or days afterward.
Reporting the accident to law enforcement allows them to conduct a preliminary investigation immediately after the crash. The police will interview the witnesses at the scene and the parties involved to determine who they believe is to blame and if anyone violated the laws of the road. Additionally, police will identify and document in their report the damage to property and visible injuries to occupants of the vehicles in the crash. Police may also take measurements and document evidence in order to perform an accident reconstruction analysis if the crash was severe. This evidence can be invaluable in a later insurance claim or legal case because the evidence may be gone by the time you can return to the scene.
Stay the Course of Your Medical Care
Your primary concern and responsibility after a car accident is your health. You must do what you can to heal and recover from the injuries you sustained in the car accident.
Following the medical advice of your doctors regarding treatments and rehabilitation is important to optimize your recovery and to help prove to the insurance company the significance of your injuries and their impacts on your daily life.
Collect and Protect Evidence Available to You
To help your case, you should gather any evidence in your possession and put it away for safekeeping until you meet with an attorney to help you with your claim. Evidence that may be available to you includes police reports, medical records, bills, repair estimates, and any communications regarding the accident and your injuries that can support your claim.
Additionally, photos or videos that you or a witness take at the scene of the crash and of your injuries, including the recovery process, can help you prove the damages you sustained.
Call a Car Accident Lawyer
You do not have to wait to call a car accident attorney after a car accident happens. When you are ready, contact a motor vehicle accident lawyer at Gruel Mills to schedule a free case consultation. We are happy to visit you in the hospital or at home to ease your burden as you heal.
As soon as you hire your lawyer, we can step in and relieve you from the pressure of insurers and other parties trying to ask you questions or for information regarding the accident. Having an attorney representing you in the case means they will be in charge of all aspects of your claim, including handling communications and requests from other parties to the case. Call a lawyer as soon as possible for the peace of mind that they are working on your case, and you no longer have to worry about what happens next.
An attorney working on your behalf will help you through filing a claim, negotiating an settlement, and representing you in court should a lawsuit be necessary.
Expect to Fight for Your Car Accident Damages Compensation
While an attorney cannot predict how your case will turn out, they can give you better insight into what is likely to occur in your pursuit of compensation. You will have to fight for your rights under the law to get fair compensation for your losses following a car accident. Reach out to a Grand Rapids personal injury lawyer.
The fight for compensation and recovery of your losses can take time. With the experience and knowledge of an attorney, you will be better prepared for what lies ahead.
Call the experienced car accident attorneys at Gruel Mills today for a free case evaluation if you or a loved one have been involved in a motor vehicle accident.