When you are involved in an accident, feelings of shock, anger, and anxiety usually consume you in the period immediately following your accident. However, to deal with the aftermath of your traumatic experience more effectively, following certain pieces of advice to get the help you need can accelerate your road to recovery.
Table of Contents
Take Care of Your Injuries
First and foremost, seeking medical attention for injuries you sustain should be at the top of the priority list after you have been involved in an accident. Even seemingly minor injuries should be assessed by a qualified medical specialist. Without the necessary medical treatment, your injury can result in a chronic debilitating condition.
At the time of an accident, you need to evaluate the seriousness of any injuries and gauge whether they warrant a visit to a general practitioner or even a trip to the hospital. A further determination should be made about whether an ambulance is needed for transportation to the hospital’s emergency department.
Medical intervention in a hospital setting can offer you the best state-of-the-art alternatives to heal your injury. In some cases, it may involve a prolonged institutional stay and considerable medical and pharmaceutical treatments.
Once you complete your primary medical treatment, a period of rehabilitation may also be necessary to help you return to your pre-injury or at least a functional status. The length and extent of rehabilitative services you will require will depend on the nature of your injuries.
Besides taking care of physical injuries, psychological trauma may also be sustained. Seeking counseling services can also be a crucial step in helping you address any lingering emotional or mental distress and put the accident behind you.
Regardless of the extent of the injury you sustain, some form of medical treatment will likely have to be sought out. However, for more serious injuries, it is evident that personal injury medical bills can easily mount over time. If you are fortunate, you may have supplemental medical insurance in addition to basic coverage, that will cover all or part of your medically related costs.
After any kind of accident, you will need to first report it before you make claims for personal and material damages you incurred. The most common accidents are those that happen in the workplace and involve automobiles.
By law, it is the responsibility of the employer to report workplace accidents to the Health and Safety department within an organization. In most jurisdictions, the local Occupation Health and
The safety unit should be notified as well.
Workers also have a mandatory obligation to let their supervisors know when they have been involved in an accident. Usually, established procedures in filling out paperwork must be followed in the reporting process. When the paperwork has been completed and sent to the workers’ Health and Safety department within their workplace, investigation officers will assess the case.
With auto accidents, the requirement to report them normally depends on whether bodily harm is sustained as well as the number of damaged vehicles. If damage to vehicles is over a certain amount with $2000 being a common threshold in many jurisdictions, there is a rule that a police report has to be filed within 24 hours after the accident and the damages to the vehicle must be fixed for reasons of public safety. Of course, if any vehicles involved are undrivable, there is a definite need to call law enforcement to the accident scene.
When more extensive damage results in bodily injuries being present, even if it is only probable, victims should remain at the scene of the accident and wait for the police to arrive. If the parties involved are unable to contact Emergency services, it would be up to witnesses or passersby to notify the authorities. If injuries are sustained by any of the occupants of the automobile or bystanders, the accident must be reported by both parties.
Collect Evidence for Investigations
After recovering from the initial shock of being in an accident, it is highly beneficial for you or any witnesses, especially if you are not capable of doing so, to collect as much evidence as you can to assist in the investigation process. To determine the cause of an accident, assessors will first evaluate evidence collected from the accident scene.
As an accident victim in the workplace, you can defend your case by collecting evidence by taking pictures and videos of the location of the accident. By taking pictures of the accident scene around the time of the accident, you can visually document the physical state of the accident scene in case it is altered inadvertently or deliberately by a third party liable for the accident. Bystanders who witnessed the accident can help build support for your case by providing an unbiased account of the incident. Occasionally, liable parties may try to deny wrongdoing and even project the blame onto you.
Trained and qualified accident inspectors will be assigned to your case to assess for cause and any liability on your end or with a third party, including your employer. Determining fault amongst the parties involved in the accident is necessary for the investigation process. It will establish who will pay for personal or property damages.
With auto accidents, exchanging basic information is necessary not only for reporting purposes, but to claim compensation with insurance companies. Each jurisdiction has its own information that is needed. However, recording more detailed information will ensure that you have the facts available for any type of investigation that will be done to determine the cause and subsequent compensation.
After moving vehicles to the side of the road, the information that you will want to collect at the scene of the incident includes:
- Names and phone numbers of drivers/accident victims and witnesses at the accident scene
- Name of the other parties’ insurance companies
- License plate numbers and location the plate is registered under of all vehicles involved
- Make and model and color of other vehicles involved in the accident
- Names of the law enforcement officials that attended the scene of the accident
- Police report number if applicable
As most people have cell phones available to them, taking screenshots to gather this information as well as pictures of damages sustained would be helpful. Dashcam footage from your vehicle can also serve as evidence.
In addition, law enforcement officers that come on the scene may also assess if driver distraction, alcohol, or drug impairment is suspected. They have the authority to issue roadside tests, such as breathalyzer tests to determine if suspects were driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs that impaired their judgment. If a driver is found to be over the legal limit in the use of these substances, criminal charges can be laid by law enforcement or pursued by other victims involved in the accident.
Record Evidence in a Journal
You will also need to maintain records of information such as the date and time of your accident, as well as any adverse weather and road conditions that might have contributing factors. Furthermore, you can also seek out testimonies from witnesses at the scene of the accident. Their contact information should be taken down and kept in your records as well.
Insurance claims related to more complicated and extensive personal injuries can sometimes take multiple years to settle. In light of this, recording this information in a journal and having a hard copy of all the details surrounding the accident will be beneficial. As time goes on, it becomes more difficult to recall details of the accident. However, you cannot predict when or if a particular detail could be crucial in the investigation process or subsequent insurance claim proceedings. As a result, it is better to record as many details as possible, even if they may seem negligible.
Besides keeping data on details of the accident, maintaining a record of medical symptoms from the time of the accident is advisable. Even seemingly minor symptoms at an accident’s onset should be noted. It is possible they may escalate into more significant problems at a later date and may be of assistance to legal counsel or medical practitioners in settling an insurance claim.
Make Insurance Claims
Once accident reports have been filed with the appropriate organizational departments or law enforcement authorities within your jurisdiction, you need to decide on whether or not to file insurance claims with your medical payments, long-term disability, and personal injury protection providers, if you have any of these types of supplemental coverage.
In the event you sustain an injury at work, filing a claim with workers’ compensation insurance can provide monetary reimbursement for workers who need time off from their jobs due to work-related injuries. They will also provide benefits for disability as well as death.
Before you claim with your automobile insurance provider, you will want to take into consideration certain factors:
- Which party was at fault
- The degree of damage sustained to all vehicles involved in the accident
- The seriousness of injuries incurred by accident victims, if any
- The amount and type of coverage you have available through your insurance providers
- The amount and type of coverage held by other parties involved in the accident
It is important to also consider that after making a claim, your insurance premiums will be impacted in the future. Your annual premiums will likely increase when renewing your policy in subsequent years, assuming you retain the same type of coverage. Therefore when making a claim, ensure that the benefits that you will be paid out will be worth the added expense with higher insurance premiums in the future. Finally, keep in mind that even if you do not file a claim and other parties involved in the accident file claims against you, it will also affect your insurance rates in the following years.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
When seeking compensation from insurance providers, acquiring assistance from legal experts specializing in personal injury can facilitate the negotiation of a fair settlement. Because they have in-depth knowledge of the legal system, they can help explain to you the process involved in making an insurance claim and answer any questions you may have. They can also advise you to take more prudent courses of action.
Personal injury lawyers can also accurately take care of the paperwork involved in processing insurance claims and get your claims paid out more rapidly and for the highest amount of payout. As the process for insurance claims can often stretch out for several years, lawyers can more effectively deal with these changes and incorporate the new information into the claims in an efficient manner, should any new developments occur during your settlement.
In some instances, you may be required to settle your claims for compensation in a court of law. If this situation should arise, it is of definite benefit to having legal representation when disputing your case before a judge.
Moreover, from their list of contacts, personal injury lawyers can provide you with referrals to medical and safety professionals as well as private investigators. These other experts are often recruited to review and provide evidence to support insurance claims. They can also be summoned to provide testimonies during your court trials.
Although hiring a personal injury lawyer will add to your expenses, the benefits received from retaining legal counsel from these experts usually outweigh the cost. If you consider that you will likely receive a greater amount of financial compensation from the settlement you are awarded, your payout should more than pay for your legal services in addition to covering the costs for your requested medical expenses and other losses due to the accident.
Most of all, a price tag can not be placed on the peace of mind you will receive in having qualified professionals take care of all the legal and insurance procedures you have to undertake. Leaving this job to your legal advisors will allow you to concentrate on recovering physically and emotionally from your injury.
By following several key pieces of advice in the aftermath of your accident, you can rest with greater assurance that you are legally complying with all of the necessary steps that need to be taken. Being aware of the proper procedures for reporting along with the collection and maintenance of information immediately after an accident can simplify the process, whether it involves work or common accidents such as those involving automobiles. In the event an insurance claim is made, enlisting the services of personal injury lawyers can facilitate and expedite the process of professionals receiving a fair and maximal amount for your accident settlement.