Experiencing an accident or injury can be distressing. Due to the unexpected nature of the experience, you might be left feeling a mixture of shock, fear and uncertainty, which can lead to a heightened sense of panic about how best to deal with the immediate situation. You can’t really predict how you will respond to distress until it happens, so it’s helpful to expect (and prepare for) the unexpected. The best way to alleviate some of the stress that naturally follows an accident or injury event is to refer to a list of steps (maybe jotted down on a piece of paper and kept in your wallet or glove compartment) to guide you through the aftermath. If (and when) faced with this situation, following these steps can make all the difference for your personal safety, your insurance claims and your finances. This is an simple guide to what steps should you take after an accident or injury.
Remain Calm and Ensure Your Safety
This might seem like a no-brainer, but the surprise element of accidents means that the panic meter can rise very quickly. Try to breathe deeply and focus on taking care of the #1 priority: your safety. Be aware of your surroundings, and move to a secure location if you are able.
Call the Police
If the situation involves a traffic accident, no matter how minor, call 911 immediately. Getting the police involved right away will ensure proper response time, assessment and documentation of the incident. In legal matters, a police report is a reliable resource.
Seek Medical Attention
Regardless of the type of accident or how you might be feeling, seek immediate medical attention. Even if you don’t think you sustained serious injuries, keep in mind that symptoms can take days to surface; a medical professional will be able to determine the severity of your injuries and document the information accurately. An immediate medical examination not only strengthens your physical recovery but also your case in the event of a personal injury claim.
Gather important details about the incident:
- Names, insurance information and contact Information of everyone involved, including eye witnesses (if the police are involved, they will assist you in gathering this information)
- Documentation of the incident and aftermath – This includes taking several pictures and/or writing detailed notes about the sight of the accident, property damage, injuries, eye-witness accounts and post-incident medical treatment (bills, receipts, correspondence)
Just the Facts
Even if you believe that you could be responsible for the incident, DO NOT admit fault. When giving your account of the incident, be honest, but only provide the facts of the event. Resist the impulse to apologize or say something to ease the tension of the situation. The police report (if present), pictures, written notes and medical documentation will provide the appropriate information for any claims that follow.
Consider a Personal Injury Attorney
The idea of navigating the legal processes associated with an accident or personal injury can be daunting. You might want to consider enlisting the services of an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you to understand your rights and be an advocate for your claim.
Many of us like to believe that because we practice caution and do everything by the book that we can prevent accidents and injuries from ever happening; but the reality is that no one is immune to the mishaps that occur in everyday life. The key to minimizing their impact on our long-term health, safety, finances and legal standing is to follow a set of step-by-step instructions for responding to future situations sensibly and efficiently.
If you or a loved one were involved in an accident or injury situation, please follow the steps outlined above, and remember that Nelson Personal Injury will also be ready to assist you. Visit our FREE case evaluation page, or call us at (320) 252-1200, for more information about your rights and the claim process. All consultations with our experienced personal injury attorneys are confidential and without obligation.
Note: This article uses information adapted from an original article for dmv.org. The full article may be accessed at the link below.