You can help protect yourself financially, medically, and legally if you take several steps after an accident—if you are able. Before you do anything, you need to make sure you are not going to cause yourself further harm by moving around. If you are not sure, wait for emergency medical technicians to check you over before you move. Otherwise, if you can, then you’ll want to take certain steps to protect yourself.
Take Stock of Your Situation After You Are Hit by a Car
Are you in danger of getting hit by other vehicles? If you can get further away from traffic, move away. People tend to look at accidents instead of where they are going, and you could end up being hit by a car again.
Call First Responders
As soon as you are out of danger, call first responders. If you are able, check on others who might have sustained injuries. When the emergency medical technicians arrive, allow them to check you over, even if you believe your injuries are minor. Some injuries do not manifest for hours or even until a day or two after the accident.
After you are hit by a car, you should gather information to help your attorney investigate your case. Obtain contact information, registration information, and insurance information from any drivers involved in the accident.
If the drivers had adult passengers in the vehicle, ask the passengers for their contact information. Finally, speak to any witnesses–obtain their contact information. You can also ask each witness what they saw. Be sure to take notes so you know which witness said what. Your car accident lawyer can use your notes during the investigation into your case.
Make sure you take plenty of photos after you are hit by a car. While police investigators will also take pictures, your pictures could show your attorney’s investigators something the police might have missed.
Always take pictures from every angle before anyone moves their vehicles. Make sure you get pictures of skid marks, other road damage, and damage to any property, including mailboxes, poles, fences, and yards.
Include photos of your injuries, even if you take the pictures after you get to the hospital. You might have a nurse help you take photos of injuries that you cannot see. You can also use a mirror to get photos of hard-to-see injuries.
Do Not Discuss the Accident With Other Drivers
While it is most likely difficult, remain calm during the time you are interacting with others, especially other drivers. They could pass what you say onto their insurance companies. The representatives could twist your words to try to assign blame to you. The only person you should discuss the accident with is the police officer taking your statement. After the officer takes your statement, ask to read what is written so that you can make any necessary corrections.
After the Police Release You From the Accident Scene
Obtain medical attention immediately if you do not accept a ride to the hospital in the ambulance. Let the medical providers know that you were in an accident and need a thorough checkup.
Document Your Injuries
Once the hospital releases you, keep track of how you feel and what is currently injured. You’ll need to document any additional injuries that show up in the next few days, including signs that point to anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
You should keep a diary of how you feel from the time of the wreck until you recover from any injuries. Make sure to note the date and time you notice new aches and pains or psychological issues.
If a loved one mentions a change in your behavior or attitude, take it seriously. Make a note of your loved one’s comments, including the date, time, and how you are feeling at the moment. If you continue to notice these feelings, document them. For example, you might lose patience with your loved ones more often. Document every time you lose patience. You might not think it is relevant at first, but it could become relevant.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer After You Are Hit by a Car
Contact a personal injury lawyer with experience in pedestrian and bicyclist accidents. If you do this within a few days of the wreck, you can also give the insurance company your attorney’s contact information. It is better that you simply notify the insurance company that you were in a wreck and that your attorney will be in contact with more information. The insurance company will definitely try to take a statement from you and will most likely use that statement against you.
A car accident lawyer knows the insurance companies play this and other tricks in an attempt to deny claims. If possible, it’s better for the attorney to handle filing the claim so you don’t end up leaving money on the table.