If you have suffered an injury due to a car accident, you may be considering filing a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your medical expenses, financial losses, and pain and suffering. However, it is important to understand how to protect your claim in order to secure the maximum compensation you may receive.
In most cases, it may benefit you to consult with a skilled attorney to discuss your claim and legal options. Simien & Simien’s Baton Rouge car accident lawyers have represented numerous claims filed by auto accident victims. We offer free, no obligation consultations to review auto accident claims and help victims determine if they may be entitled to pursue compensation from the at-fault party.
Below, we have provided several steps you can take after an auto accident to protect your claim and obtain the compensation you need.
Check for Injuries
Immediately after the accident, you should carefully examine yourself and anyone else in your vehicle for injuries. Some of the more obvious signs of a serious injury include fractured bones, severe bleeding, pain, cuts or bruises.
However, not all injuries are immediately apparent following a car crash. For this reason, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible to diagnose any unknown injuries or a medical condition with masked symptoms.
Although it is important to treat your injuries, obtaining medical treatment can also be used to support your claim. This shows that you suffered serious injuries that can be connected to the auto accident.
Get to Safety
If you are able, get to a safe location as soon as possible. However, you should stay near the accident scene to wait for law enforcement or first responders to arrive.
Likewise, you should only move your vehicle if it creates a hazard to other motorists or puts others at risk of crashing into it and causing further accidents.
Additionally, be cautious about moving injured victims or the driver or passengers in the other vehicle. They may have suffered a serious injury that causes internal damage, and moving them may risk further complications. Only move an injured person if he or she is in immediate danger.
Even if no one is seriously hurt, it is still important to report the accident to law enforcement. As soon as you are able, call 9-1-1 to inform first responders that an auto accident has occurred and report any resulting injuries or fatalities.
The responding law enforcement officer will create an accident report for your collision. This report will contain important details about your accident, including:
- The cause of the crash
- The injures you or other victims suffered during the accident
- The parties involved in the collision
- Where the accident occurred
- The damage inflicted on both vehicles
- Which party the officer believes is at fault for the accident
It is important that you obtain a copy of the police report. This can be used to establish fault in the accident and is an official document describing the details that occurred before and during the crash.
Do Not Leave the Accident Scene
It is imperative that you remain on the accident scene until you have spoken to law enforcement and are given permission to leave.
Leaving the accident scene before being authorized to do so is a serious crime in Louisiana. Under RS 14§100, you may face the following consequences:
- FIne of not more than $500
- Imprisonment for not more than six months
Immediately, following the accident, try to remain proactive by assessing property damage, setting up flares to warn other drivers and section the area off to avoid causing further accidents.
Exchanging information with the other driver is another important step to secure your claim. This information will be useful to provide your insurer once you have reported the accident.
When you speak to the other driver, ask for the following types of information:
- Name, addresses and phone number
- Insurance carrier details and policy numbers
- Driver's license numbers
- Vehicle plates numbers
- Types, colors, makes and models of his or her vehicle
Photograph the Accident
After the accident, you should carefully document the crash, if possible. This includes taking pictures of yours and the other driver’s vehicle, the surrounding area, the accident scene and any injuries you may have suffered.
These pictures can be used to establish the severity of the accident, the injuries you suffered as result of the crash and which parties were involved.
Notify Your Insurer
Once you have received medical attention and spoken to law enforcement about your auto accident, you should notify your insurer as soon as possible. This is essential to recover compensation for your medical expenses, property damage and lost wages.
An adjuster with your insurance company will review the circumstances behind your accident and the resulting damages to provide you a settlement offer. However, it is important that you do not accept any offer until you have spoken to an attorney. He or she will understand that true value of your claim and help you make an informed decision to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Contact an Attorney for Help
If you or a loved one was injured in an auto accident caused by another driver’s negligence, contact Simien & Simien as soon as possible.
Our personal injury lawyers in Baton Rouge have helped numerous car accident victims with their claims and will provide you a free, no obligation consultation to help you understand your situation.
If we find that you have a case, we will represent you for no upfront cost. We only charge our clients if we help them recover compensation. There is no risk in contacting us to discuss representing your claim.