What to Do in the Moments Following an Accident
No one plans to be in an accident. While we pride ourselves on our work helping victims as your Panama City injury law firm, we know that no one ever plans to end up in our office. You can't live your life in fear, but it is also important to take precautions, including practicing safe driving behaviors and staying alert to the actions of others on the road.
While we hope it is advice you never need to put into action, it is also important to know what to do in the moments after being injured in an accident. While we represent clients who have faced a wide-range of injury-causing incidents, such as slip-and-fall or defective product injuries, this post will focus on car accidents. However, many of the pieces of advice can apply to other situations.
Your first concern after you have been injured in an accident should always be looking after your own health. Do not brush aside injuries. It is especially important to seek medical treatment if you receive a blow to the head, since the extent of injury is not always immediately clear. Some signs of more serious brain injury can include confusion/disorientation, drowsiness, headaches, sensitivity to light or sound, nausea/vomiting, memory issues, lack of coordination/balance, and slurred speech.
After taking care of your own health and the health of others, you should take steps to preserve your legal rights and ensure that you will be able to collect damages if someone else's negligent or wrongful actions caused the collision. You should collect evidence that might help a court understand the cause of the crash. Taking photographs is helpful in accomplishing this goal, and the photographic evidence is often expected by courts given the widespread use of cell phones that contain cameras. Likewise, you should write down what happened leading up to and after the accident as soon as possible.
You might feel like you'll never forget a serious car crash, but details can fade quickly, especially given how busy the hours and days following a collision can become. You should continue to take notes about accident-related happenings, including the types and costs of medical care, lost wages, added household expenses stemming from your injuries (for example, extra child care costs during a hospital stay), and details regarding repair to your vehicle or other property-related expenses.
It is also important to record contact information for the other party and any witnesses to the accident. This may include names, phone numbers, and addresses of people present at the accident scene. You should also get insurance information from the other driver. You should also note comments made by the other driver as well as witnesses. This may not all be admissible in court, but it may help refresh memories if time elapses before trial or settlement discussions. It is also good to get a copy of the police report if one is prepared.
You should also call an experienced Panama City accident attorney. The sooner you call, the better. Memories fade, witnesses relocate, and evidence can be lost. Your lawyer can ensure that you meet all deadlines and help you deal with other parties, insurance personnel, and opposing counsel. While an experienced injury lawyer is always ready to go to trial if necessary, a large number of accident cases are resolved by a settlement. In general, victims who are represented by legal counsel receive a higher settlement figure than those who attempt to proceed without representation.
Our phones answer 24/7, an initial consultation is always free, and most accident cases are handled on a contingency basis, so there is no charge unless you recover compensation for your injuries.