Have you recently been injured in a car accident and didn’t know what to do?
Car accidents can be disorienting, overwhelming, and traumatic. Right after the crash happens, you may accidentally miss key steps that are essential for your subsequent personal injury claim. Knowing ahead of time how you should respond after a car accident can change everything.
Below, an experienced car accident lawyer from Wood Injury Law discusses the five steps you should take immediately after a motor vehicle accident. If you need us, our team at Wood Injury Law is here to help.
1. Move Your Vehicle Somewhere Safe
After a minor accident, you should first move your vehicle out of traffic. We recommend pulling over before getting out of the car and putting yourself at risk of being hit by oncoming traffic.
In more severe accidents, when the airbags deploy and the vehicle sustains substantial damage, you should cautiously exit the car to determine whether or not you are okay medically and if you can move your car. If the engine produces any smoke, odd smells, or fluids, leave the car as is and distance yourself by stepping away to a safe location.
2. Seek Medical Attention
Car accident injuries often go undetected because your adrenaline can mask bodily pains for hours or even days. For your physical and financial health, you should immediately seek medical attention after a car accident, even if you think that you feel okay.
For minor pains or a cautionary checkup, it’s wise to visit a doctor the same day to determine your condition.
If a police officer, driver, witness, or insurance adjuster asks how you feel after the accident, do not give any answers until you’ve received a professional diagnosis. Instead, you can just say that you’re unsure.
3. File a Police Report
Call 911. Often, people skip calling the police because they think the liability is obvious. Determining fault involves many gray areas that can land you into trouble. If you call the police to file a report on the scene, you can use their written document to your advantage when speaking with insurance adjusters.
When the police arrive, do not admit any liability or discuss injuries. Review the report before the officer leaves.
4. Gather Evidence and Contact Information
Next, you should take a few moments to take photographs of the accident scene, including your vehicle, the other cars involved, any property damage (like if you hit a street sign or mailbox), and any injuries. You should also exchange phone numbers and insurance information with all other drivers involved in the accident.
If the crash occurred on a busy street, ask around for any potential witnesses and exchange contact information with them.
5. Find a Lawyer for Car Accidents
Once you’re home safe, contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. An accident injury attorney will help build your case, collect evidence, and represent your claim so that you can receive maximum compensation.
Insurance companies often take advantage of unrepresented drivers, pushing them to take on portions of unnecessary liability. A professional lawyer can help you protect your legal rights.
New Mexico Accident Advice From a Car Accident Attorney
Aside from the five steps we covered above, you can use the following advice to help you learn how to protect your rights and prevent accidents altogether.
Do Not Speak About Injuries Without a Car Accident Lawyer
If you take anything away from this article, let it be this: Do not discuss any injuries or liability with police officers or insurance adjusters until you seek legal representation. A car accident lawyer will walk you through exactly what to say so that you do not accidentally make yourself liable.
Learn the Most Common Car Accident Causes to Avoid Wrecks
According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, in 2019 there were more 33,000 fatal accidents in the United States, 368 of which occurred in New Mexico.
You cannot prevent all car accidents, but understanding why they often happen can help you avoid dangerous driving scenarios.
The most common accidents occur from:
- Reckless speeding
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Turning or passing other vehicles illegally
- Driving in hazardous weather
- Running stop signs or traffic lights
Wood Injury Law: Your Trusted Car Accident Lawyer in New Mexico
If you have recently been involved in a car accident, you should immediately contact a local New Mexico car accident lawyer to represent your legal rights.
The knowledgeable team at Wood Injury Law helps accident victims recover by building strong legal claims. In fact, our founder and managing attorney formerly represented auto insurance companies. As a result, our firm has a deep understanding of how to advocate your claim to these organizations and in court. We operate on a contingency basis, meaning that you will not pay until you win the case.
Copyright © 2022. Wood Injury Law. All rights reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.