Disclaimer: This article should not be treated as legal advice. It’s recommended that readers still consult legal counsel and contact a lawyer should they have any concerns regarding vehicle accidents.
As the saying goes, “health is wealth,” and this is not something we should not ignore. It’s our responsibility as people to take care of our body, as this is the only body we’ve got. Likewise, road users such as drivers are also responsible for making sure their usage of vehicles on the road doesn’t harm pedestrians. If you’ve ever found yourself involved, and much worse injured, in an accident, your health is your utmost priority. However, always remember to think about what to consider legally if you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident.
This is because drivers who have caused an accident that resulted in your injury may actually be liable to compensate you for treatment and other costs you incur during the course of the accident. It’s important to be aware of such considerations because this can spell the difference between a difficult recovery and a smooth one.
Don’t Leave, Assess the Situation
Perhaps one of the most important considerations of being injured in a vehicle accident is to know when it’s okay to leave the scene. It’s advised never to leave the scene unless it’s been said it’s appropriate to do so. This is because leaving the scene can cost you a lot, given you can receive penalties for hit-and-run. Try to reach out to your lawyer or reach out to authorities first, especially if there were people who were injured. Before doing so, try to assess the situation.
- Check first if the people involved in the incident are injured or worse, killed. Don’t try to give personal medical attention to people who are unconscious, or has pain in the back or neck. If there are people who are injured, try to contact the police and medical attention immediately, as they are best qualified to deal with these injuries.
- Assess your own injuries, and if there is property damage nearby. Take note of these things while waiting for assistance to arrive. Take photos of all injuries and any visible property damage. This is important as you need to document these later, especially if you’ll be needing compensation for potential treatment.
Make Sure You Get Information
When you reach out to authorities, especially the police, ask that they file a police report when they arrive in the scene. Try to get the badge number and names of the responding authorities in order to get a reference should you need to get more information in the future. In the same token, take note of everything and everyone present on the scene.
- Aside from the police, try to get relevant information from the people and drivers involved. These include names, addresses, contact details, numbers of license plates and their actual license number. If there are passengers involved, it’s also recommended to get basic information such as numbers, names, and addresses. Remember to be polite, cooperative, and respectful.
- If there are witnesses, try to get their information as well. If you have the time, ask them if they’re local and, if they are, ask if there are frequent accidents in this area.
- However, don’t apologize for anything that’s happened, as this may be interpreted as you admitting fault in the scene. This is important as in some states, it may or may not matter if someone’s admitted fault when it comes to who pays for what.
Keep Documentation, Keep Relevant People Notified
- If you have the means to do so, communicate with your insurance company and inform them that you’ve been involved in an accident. When they ask questions, be cooperative and be honest with their questions. You can get in a lot of trouble if they found out you were lying about anything, and you could even lose your claim.
- The above trouble can be avoided if you carefully keep track of your treatment, should you have to undergo some. Try to make sure you take note of any medical professionals you’ve encountered and received treatment from, or if you’ve been referred by a medical provider to other professionals. If possible, keep a detailed report of the treatments in a journal, and request that you receive a copy of the bills and the reports they provide.
- While on the scene, try your best to take as many photographs as you can of the scene, yourself, and damages to property and your vehicle. This is best done in different angles, so you have things to show should you be asked about the full extent of the damage.
- Be extra careful when sharing details to anyone. If you plan on discussing details, ask your lawyer what’s the best way to share them in a way that wouldn’t get you in trouble. If an insurance company asks you talk with them, kindly refer them to your attorney. Be extra careful about settlement offers as well, and consult a lawyer if you’ve been offered one.
If you want to look into the specifics of compensation if you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, the Department of Motor Vehicles actually has a handy list of tips you could review with your lawyer.
Recovering from a vehicle accident can take time and resources, and as such it’s important to make sure that everything is settled legally so that recovery can be the main focus. Part of this preparation is to know what to consider legally if you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident. It’s better to be aware of the things you need to observe in an accident, especially in a legal sense.
Irene Wall has been writing about law for more than a decade. She writes pieces on various law topics that she hopes could help the common reader with their concerns. She enjoys playing basketball with her sons during her free time.
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