Even minor car accidents can be traumatizing due to the suddenness and the unexpectedness of the event. An impact can cause a lot of tension in your body that can remain for hours and it is normal to feel a bit disoriented. Many car accident victims are also upset at the driver they believe caused the crash.
It is important to remain calm after a collision, however, as what you do and say in the aftermath can have an effect on your legal rights as an accident victim – both positively or adversely. The following are some of the most important things you can do to preserve your legal rights and best interests after an auto accident.
Some people can walk away from car accidents relatively unscathed while others sustain life-threatening injuries in a matter of seconds. In some cases, it will be obvious that a victim needs to be immediately taken to the hospital in an ambulance for emergency treatment and stabilization. However, other victims may need medical attention as soon as possible and may not realize how bad their injuries may be.
Allowing an emergency medical technician (EMT) to evaluate you can let you know whether you should remain at the scene of the accident or whether you need to be taken to the hospital. If the EMT thinks your injuries are serious enough to warrant an ambulance ride, you should heed their advice to best protect your physical health.
It is always wise to call the police when you believe someone else was at fault for your accident. In some cases, Pennsylvania law1 may even require police notification, such as in the case of severe injuries. When you give your version of what happened to the police, they should put it in their police report. This report can then be used in settlement negotiations and also can be used to refresh the officer’s memory if they testify at trial.
Furthermore, an officer will determine whether the other driver broke the law, including reckless driving, driving under the influence (DUI),2 or other traffic violations. If a ticket is issued or if the driver is charged with a crime, it can make your legal claim significantly easier.
There is much information you can gather that will help your case at the scene of an accident, including:
When you get home and have the chance, you should always make notes about what you remember happening before, during, and after the crash. Your memory of specific details or observation can easily fade by the time your legal case begins or a trial occurs, and your notes can refresh your memory.
If you did not need an ambulance ride, you should still head to the emergency department or schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. First, this will make sure you receive any treatment that you didn’t know you needed. Even minor injuries can escalate and have complications, so it is better to seek treatment from the start.
In addition, it is important to have a diagnosis or all of your injuries documented in your medical records so you can prove your losses in a legal claim. Having a timely diagnosis also serves to connect your injuries with the accident so the other party cannot claim that you sustained your injuries at a later date.
Once your physical health is stabilized, if you have incurred any losses from the accident, you should call to discuss your options with a skilled Philadelphia car accident lawyer as soon as you can. Even if your case can be resolved through an insurance claim, it is important to have a lawyer review any settlement offers you receive before you accept them. This is important for two reasons:
An attorney will protect your rights throughout this process and will negotiate for a fair offer whenever possible or help you file a legal claim.
If you have been in an auto accident, please call The Levin Firm at 215-825-5183 for a free consultation today.
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