What Do You Do If You’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident?
By their nature, car accidents occur out of the blue. If you are involved in a car crash, and not injured so badly that you cannot move, keeping your wits about you and documenting the scene is critical.
A Pittsburgh Auto Accident lawyer at Chaffin Luhana protects your rights and can help you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries. Our dedicated attorneys have recovered more than $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for their injured clients.
Report the accident
Always report an accident to the police immediately. That holds true even if the collision seems like a fender bender and no one appears injured.
If possible, check to see if occupants of the other vehicles involved are injured. If the other driver asks you not to call the police or 911, ignore him or her.
However, do not admit fault to the police officer or to other parties involved.
Document the scene
The more evidence you have, the stronger your case. Use your cellphone to take videos and photos of the accident scene, including your injuries, damage done to the vehicles involved, the license plate numbers, and any conditions that may have contributed to the crash.
The latter might include road defects, debris, or non-functioning traffic signals. Document evidence such as skid marks or damaged stationary items, such as fencing or trees.
Obtain the other driver’s insurance and license information, as well as contact information, including phone number, address, and email address. Get the contact numbers, names, and addresses of any eyewitnesses.
Take notes. Memories are freshest right after the incident, so write down what you recall about the circumstances of the accident, as well as the behavior of those in the other car.
Seek immediate medical attention
Badly injured accident victims are taken by emergency personnel to the closest hospital. However, some people may not think they were hurt, or at least not seriously so, and decline a trip to the emergency room.
That is a mistake. Failure to seek prompt medical attention, either at a hospital or urgent care center, can harm your case.
Keep in mind that some serious injuries, including concussions and soft tissue injuries, may not appear for 24 hours or more. That is why it is vital you inform a healthcare professional you were injured in an auto accident.
Insurance companies may minimize or deny your claim if you delay such an examination. The insurer may allege the injuries did not result from the car crash, but some other activity.
The insurance company might state that your injuries are not that serious since you waited a long time for medical help.
Dealing with the insurance company
After a car crash, it is likely that an insurance adjuster will contact you within a matter of days. Do not make a recorded statement or say anything other than confirming the accident occurred at a certain place and time.
Insurance adjusters work for the insurance company and are not looking out for your best interests. Insurance companies want to pay as little as possible in claims, and adjusters may twist your words to make it sound as if you are not seriously hurt or were at-fault for the accident.
In fact, the adjuster might sound as if they are asking the same question in various ways. That is a method of tricking you into inadvertently saying something the insurance company can later use against you.
Never sign any settlement agreement with the insurance company, no matter how good it appears on the surface, without obtaining legal advice. Keep in mind that once an agreement is signed, the insurance company is finished with your claim, even if it turns out your injuries are more severe than initially believed.
When an insurance adjuster learns the accident victim has hired an attorney, they know they must negotiate in good faith. A personal injury lawyer knows a fair settlement amount for the type of injuries from which you suffer.
Contact Pittsburgh car accident lawyers
If you or someone you know were seriously hurt in a car accident because of another party’s reckless or negligent actions, you need the services of an experienced personal injury attorney in Pittsburgh. Arrange a free consultation by contacting us online or calling 24/7. Most cases end up with settlements, but we will pursue your case to trial when necessary.