In 2017, one person was injured in a car accident about every 10 minutes, according to The Arizona Department of Transportation. Finding yourself in a car accident is a scary and unexpected situation. You may be in shock and not know exactly what to do, so it is essential to know what steps to take. It can happen to anyone, so if you find yourself in a car accident, here is a quick guide of what to know.
The first thing you need to do is stop your vehicle. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than one hit-and-run crash occurs every minute. Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, so stop your vehicle immediately. If you are able to, pull off to the side of the road or move to a parking lot to prevent blocking traffic.
Before you do anything else, confirm there are no injuries that require emergency medical attention. When everyone’s safety has been accounted for, call the police so an accident report can be filed. Gather all key documents such as your vehicle registration, driver’s license and insurance card, as you will need to present them to the officer when they arrive. Before you leave, make sure to exchange insurance information with the other drivers involved, take photos of the scene and obtain a copy of the police report. Call your insurance company right away to inform them of your accident.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you don’t think you are injured, your health and safety are the top priority. Delayed symptoms may include headaches, neck and shoulder pain, abdominal pain, back pain and bruising, so it’s in your best interest to seek medical attention right away. If possible, get in touch with health providers who offer no up-front costs which will allow you to receive attention as soon as possible. If you already have an attorney, they can often help you find appropriate care. It is essential to seek medical attention and obtain medically documented proof of your injuries and treatment should you need to pursue a legal claim later.
Get a Personal Injury Attorney
After taking care of any medical needs, get in contact with a personal injury attorney. There are many options out there, so don’t be afraid to consult with a variety of lawyers to find the one who is best for your case. Many law firms like, Browne Law Group, offer free consultations and no upfront fees.
When meeting, be sure to bring all necessary information with you such as your driver’s license, insurance cards, photos from the accident and any police reports. Filing a personal injury lawsuit should not be done without representation of a seasoned attorney as the legal system can be complicated. Have your questions ready, and make sure to leave with the original copies of everything you brought with you, as well as copies of any papers you signed. Your attorney will then consult with the necessary parties, gather records and bills and be able to handle everything needed for your case moving forward.
Once you’re in contact with your medical provider, it is crucial to follow their instructions. Full cooperation will confirm a healthy recovery and ensure all medical proof is accurately documented. Be prepared to ask questions. You want to leave knowing what your injuries mean and how they were caused. Ask about possible future health concerns and know how long your recovery will take. Be sure to keep your attorney updated on the status of your medical treatment to help move the process along and resolve your claim as quickly as possible.
Be Aware of Comparative Negligence
If you don’t want to get a lawyer because you think your injury could potentially be your own fault, you will want to reconsider. In the state of Arizona, you can be partially responsible for your own injury and still be able to receive compensation for medical bills and expenses. This is called comparative negligence. Even if you are 99 percent at fault, you are still able to collect for the remaining one percent.
After all documentation and bills are obtained, your personal injury attorney will start the process of getting your settlement by drafting a settlement demand to send to the other party’s insurance company. You may be eligible to be compensated for medical bills, missed wages, lost earning capacity, property damage and pain and suffering. Only about five percent of personal injury cases go to trial, and most are settled out of court. This process takes time. Some claims are settled in three to four months, while others can take up to one or two years.
Following a car accident, it is important to have a personal injury attorney on your team. Going through these steps will help you receive appropriate care and assistance.
Byron Browne is a personal injury attorney at Browne Law Group. To connect with Browne and receive a free consultation, contact Browne Law Group at (602)438-2442.