It is an unfortunate fact that many of us will be involved in a car accident at some point in our lives. For every accident, there are many possible causes, including our own actions and the negligence of another driver. No matter what the circumstances, a car crash can be a life-changing event—and in the aftermath, you need to be sure that any accident is handled properly.
The first priority following a car accident is simple—prompt medical attention. Injuries sustained in car accidents can range from minor to serious, and some injuries may not be apparent right away. In fact, the full extent of an injury may not become clear for a period of days or even weeks. For this reason, even if you think you have not been hurt, it is vital to go to the emergency room and get checked out by a doctor. In addition to protecting your health, seeking medical attention will create important records and documentation that may become important if you end up having to pursue a lawsuit or an insurance claim related to the accident.
While being treated, it is important to provide as much information as possible to the attending physician. Most people tend to concentrate on the area where the pain is greatest or whatever injury is most serious, while ignoring lesser trauma or discomfort in other areas. If something does not feel right or look right, tell your doctor right away and get that problem examined. Doing so will give your doctor the most complete picture of your health, and help to create the most comprehensive documentation possible. Types of medical problems that may be initially overlooked might include not only physical symptoms but insomnia, difficulty concentrating or performing tasks that had previously given you no difficulty, memory loss, or even changes in mood. Conditions like these may require their own manner of specialized medical attention, and information about your symptoms and treatment may become an important part of any legal action that is taken later on.
As you begin to recover from your accident, it cannot be emphasized enough that you should do everything in your power to treat your injuries, follow your doctor’s orders, and work towards a full recovery. Some people mistakenly believe that if they can demonstrate their injury or incapacitation in court in front of a judge, or to an insurer, that it will help their case. Quite the contrary; if a judge or insurance company believes that a plaintiff or claimant is over-dramatizing his or her injuries in the hopes of securing the court’s sympathy, this can backfire and damage your chances of achieving fair compensation.
In the aftermath of an accident, you may be unsure whether you need a lawyer. You may also wonder how long to wait before seeking legal advice. In many cases, consulting a lawyer sooner rather than later is a good approach, because your lawyer can gather information about your case (ranging from who may have been at fault to whether there is insurance coverage available) and help you determine your next steps. In some cases, your lawyer may advise you to postpone any legal action for a period of time while you continue your medical treatment, in order to see how rapidly injuries are going to heal. If you just aren’t sure about your legal rights or what to do next, a consultation with a lawyer can go a long way toward securing your peace of mind.
To reiterate, if you have been in an automobile accident, the most pressing matter is to obtain good medical treatment. Litigation and insurance claims may be a possibility as your situation unfolds, but your first priority is to see to the well-being of yourself and the passengers in your car.