The hours and days after a Huntsville car accident can be especially traumatizing, stressful, and confusing. What should you do? With whom should you speak? Should you sign the papers presented to you by the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or should you speak with an attorney first? Making the wrong move after a car accident can have serious and negative effects on your ability to obtain compensation if you file a car accident claim against the at-fault driver.
Each car accident is different. However, there are certain steps you should take no matter the circumstances of your car accident. You should consider keeping a checklist of steps to take after a crash in your car for reference in the event you are involved in a car accident.
Table of Contents
Steps to Take After the Initial Collision
In the moments immediately after the crash, be sure that you:
- Summon law enforcement and also medical assistance if anyone is injured right away;
- Move yourself and any of your passengers to safety if doing so is necessary and would not cause further injury;
- Obtain the name, contact information, and insurance information of all drivers involved in the crash;
- Obtain the name and contact information for any witnesses at the scene who say they saw the crash or rendered aid after the crash;
- Obtain the name, department, and badge number for the law enforcement officer(s) who arrives to investigate the crash;
- Take photographs of the accident scene if you are able to do so with a smartphone and if doing so is safe. Take photographs as soon as possible, before any cleanup occurs. Try to take photos of the accident scene, the interior and exterior of the cars involved, the roadway and any skid marks or debris, and any road signs, road markings, and/or traffic signals nearby. The more photos you take, the better;
- Write down detailed notes about what you remember regarding the accident, including what happened before and after the collision. Keep these notes in a safe location; and
- Do not admit fault or say that you are sorry to any other party: this can be used against you to deny an insurance claim you may file or dismiss any lawsuit you may file.
Steps to Take in the Hours and Days After the Collision
In the days after your car accident, you will need to meet with or speak with several different individuals. This includes:
- Seeking a medical examination from a doctor if you did not require emergency care immediately after the accident;
- Notifying your insurance company of the accident;
- Speaking with the insurance adjuster. Your insurance adjuster may offer you a settlement of your claim – if he or she does so, be sure to thoroughly read the release that would accompany the settlement check. If you are not sure what rights you would be waiving, be sure to speak with your attorney;
- Speaking with the other driver’s insurance company and/or attorney. Do not provide a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance without consulting an attorney for assistance. Any statements you make can be used to deny or challenge your claim; and
- Speaking with a car accident lawyer about your legal rights and whether you have a legal right to seek compensation through a car accident lawsuit.
Should You Go to the Hospital if You Do Not Feel Injured?
One question many Huntsville car accident victims have is whether they need to go to the hospital after a car accident. Even if you feel no pain, you should seek an evaluation from a medical professional – either the hospital emergency room’s staff or your doctor. The surge of adrenaline immediately after an accident may mask pain and you may wake feeling very sore the following day. It is possible that you sustained a concussion or internal injuries that have not yet shown any symptoms. Failing to seek a medical evaluation can allow these injuries to develop into serious medical issues. You may find it more difficult to recover the full amount of compensation that you will need to recover from the harm you sustained.
Do You Need a Huntsville Car Accident Attorney?
Experienced legal guidance is often helpful after a car accident. Consider what such a lawyer can accomplish on your behalf:
- Handle questions and requests from the insurance companies;
- Assist you in locating witnesses and preserving important evidence;
- Estimate the full cost of your losses related to the accident including medical bills, lost income and other expenses;
- Negotiate on your behalf with the at-fault driver’s insurance company;
- Draft a complaint against the at-fault driver and their insurance company
- Respond to motions and responses from the other parties involved in your case; and
- Representing your interests in court.
The Huntsville car accident law firm of Morris King & Hodge, P.C., is here to assist you and your family following your car crash incident. Contact us by phone or through our website to schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney and learn how we can assist you with recovering compensation for your losses and expenses.
Additional Car Safety Resources
- Car Accidents
- Car Accident Checklist
- Distracted Driving
- Drowsy Driving vs Drunk Driving
- Drunk Driving Accidents
- Uninsured Car Accidents
Harvey B. Morris is a lifelong Alabamian who has been practicing law in Huntsville since getting his law degree and passing the state bar in 1966.