Rain, snow and ice can make for difficult driving this time of year. Accidents will happen. If it happens to you, will you know what to do? Slick roads and poor visibility can make an accident scene difficult to sort out, and if injuries are involved, it’s important to be in control of the situation.
Most accidents, even during inclement weather, are fender benders in which property damage must be dealt with. Still, it is wise to take every precaution after an accident, as injuries may not be immediately evident. If it appears likely that you are not at fault, it is crucial that details are recorded, since it is your responsibility to prove that the other driver caused the accident and that the accident caused your property damage and/or your injuries.
If you are involved in an accident:
- Call 911, even if the accident seems minor or you believe you are unhurt. Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, have a way of showing up later. If you ultimately have a personal injury claim, your police report will have details of the accident, the weather conditions, a drawing of the scene, and the at-fault driver’s citation.
- Don’t attempt to examine the scene if road conditions render the area unsafe. Stay with your vehicle or out of harms way as you wait for emergency responders.
- Get medical attention immediately following the accident. If you choose not to be transported, see your family doctor right away. Like your police report, EMS and doctor reports will contain critical details about your symptoms and treatment you received at the scene.
- Gather whatever evidence you can at the scene without putting yourself in danger, including names and addresses of the other driver and witnesses to the accident. Take pictures of the cars, the scene, and the weather and road conditions, and have someone get pictures of you if you have injuries.
- Call your insurance company even if you believe you were not at fault. Regardless of the circumstances, the insurance companies will investigate, and your agent must be made aware of the accident. Your policy may also have benefits that will help you while you wait for a settlement.
Car accidents can be extremely stressful and the tendency for most of us is to get things taken care of quickly so we can move on. When you have been injured and another driver is at fault, it is important to take the time necessary to allow for a thorough investigation and to determine what impact your injuries may have on your future.
In the weeks following your accident:
- Do not feel pressured to sign any settlement agreement. To do so would remove any right you would have later to pursue a claim.
- You do not have to give recorded statements to any insurance company regarding details of the accident or your injuries.
- Notify the at-fault driver’s insurance company in writing if you intend to pursue a personal injury claim.
- Do not discuss details of the accident or your injuries with the other driver.
Don’t attempt to handle a personal injury claim on your own. Skilled personal injury attorneys are prepared to handle these details, including gathering accident information and medical records so you can receive a fair settlement. Injuries can dramatically change a person’s life, impacting their ability to work and to enjoy activities and family relationships.
If you are injured in a car accident due to another’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation for medical bills, therapy as needed, lost wages, and possibly pain and suffering. A personal injury attorney can be sure you receive what you are entitled to.
Contact Attorney Elizabeth Bernard today for a free consultation if you believe your injuries are the result of someone else’s negligence.