Despite a small progress in the past couple of years, the US are still in the lead when it comes to the number of traffic accidents and car accident deaths. According to a recent report, more than 6 million accidents occur on American roads every year and nearly 2.5 million Americans are left with injuries and disabilities after motor vehicle accidents. This means that every 14 seconds, an American citizen, be it a driver, passenger or pedestrian, is injured in a crash. Nobody would ever want something like this to happen to them, but, considering the high incidence of motor vehicle accidents in the US, knowing how to react to such an event is very important. Keep in mind, even calm and collected individuals can experience panic and confusion, which is why it becomes all the more important to avoid these common mistakes.
Don’t leave the scene of the accident
One of the first instincts people have after being involved in an accident is to flee the scene. Drivers usually resist this urge, because they can face serious legal consequences if they leave, but even if you are a passenger or a pedestrian, you should still stay. First of all, the rush of adrenaline could make you think that you’re alright, when you could in fact be injured. Wait for the ambulance to arrive to check that you are not hurt. Secondly, you should stay at the scene for legal reasons. Leaving before the police arrive could weaken your claim for personal injury compensation.
Don’t ignore the drivers and witnesses
As soon as you recover from the initial panic, you should talk to the drivers and passengers to make sure that they are alright. Moreover, if there are any witnesses, you should ask what they saw. Asking for the contact details of everyone at the scene is advisable, but you should refrain from discussing the accident in too much detail. Ideally, you should ask your motor vehicle accident lawyer for advice and refuse to provide in-depth information unless legally obliged.
Don’t forget to call a motor vehicle accident lawyer
Being involved in an accident is unpleasant enough as it is, so when you add the issue of seeking compensation, it becomes obvious that you need a professional by your side. Motor vehicle accident lawyers can assess the particularities of your case and take every legal measure necessary to make sure that you receive proper financial compensation from the party responsible for the accident. This compensation is meant to cover medical and personal expenses.
Don’t throw away records of medical expenses
If you sustained injuries after the accident and had to be taken to a hospital, make sure you keep a copy of all the medical records. These papers will be used later on by the personal injury lawyer, so don’t throw them away. Once you get rid of the records, building a strong case will become more difficult and you’ll have go to a great deal of inconvenience for copies of patient files and prescriptions. Also, keep in mind that every detail matters. Even if you didn’t have to undergo surgery, you shouldn’t discard the medical attention you had to receive. Even something that might seem minor, such as whiplash, can be compensated, so don’t hurry to get rid of all the records. Personal injury lawyers can handle cases where the injuries occurred a few months or even years back, so you might want to keep the paper for some time.
Don’t accept the first settlement offer
After accidents, insurance companies are quick to offer a settlement offer to the victim, but approach this initial offer with caution and don’t let anyone force you into signing anything if you feel it’s not enough and it doesn’t compensate for all the inconvenience that the accident caused. Even if you think the amount is fair, you should still consult your attorney, because you might be surprised to find out you should receive two or three times the initial offer. Don’t be afraid of the price of working with a personal injury lawyer, because professional, reliable firms offer free initial consultation and work on a no win no fee basis. This means that you won’t be charged anything unless you actually win the case.