Whether a distracted driver hit your vehicle from behind, or someone who failed to stop at a red light sideswiped you at an intersection, you were likely in a state of shock in the immediate aftermath of your car accident. Traumatic crash events leave victims grappling with complex legal issues and struggling with medical problems that often persist for months if not years afterwards, causing lost productivity at work, challenges at home and psychological pain and frustration.
Here are six concrete actions you can take to ensure that you receive proper compensation for car repairs and for your medical treatment.
- Obtain a copy of the police record.
The police report contains facts pertaining to vehicle damage, injuries and witness statements. Law enforcement agencies furnish reports on accidents that occur on state or county roads, while the Arizona Department of Public Safety supplies reports of accidents that occur on state highways. Victims often are too distracted or injured to collect copies at the scene. Fortunately, you can still request a copy of your report after its issuance.
- See a doctor, even if the crash didn’t cause serious pain.
Auto accidents cause violent trauma, and they also set off the body’s “flight or fight” response, stimulating the release of hormones and neurotransmitters that can numb you to the severity of your injuries. For instance, perhaps the crash shook you up and gave you a headache, but you shrugged off those symptoms as minor. Remember, though: nothing is as important as your health. If you’re at all injured — especially if you face a soft tissue injury or possible concussion – get a medical evaluation ASAP. A doctor’s documentation of your injuries will help with your claim and possibly also save your life.
- Take pictures of your injuries and the scene of the crash.
Accidents leave victims feeling confused and not in the mood to document their suffering. But pictures can strengthen your case. They aren’t easily open to interpretation, and they clearly verify injuries and vehicle damage.
- Learn what you can from the crash.
It’s tempting to want to put the crash behind you and “move on” with your life. Dwelling on your negative experience isn’t necessarily productive. At the same time, you want to understand why it happened, both to prepare your case and to protect yourself in the future. Evaluate the accident from an objective point of view. What mistakes did you make, if any? Were you distracted – composing an email to your boss in your head at the moment of a skid-out, for instance? Did you drive late on a Saturday night in a neighborhood with a lot of bars – a place where you knew there would be many DUI drivers? Be honest, and learn what you can from what happened.
- Rest and recover.
Many accident victims want to jump back into their routines, understandably. But don’t underestimate the physical and emotional burden of recovery. Allow downtime to give your body the opportunity to heal and permit your emotional equilibrium to return.
- Call a lawyer.
In the days following a crash, you have likely been so busy getting your life back together that you haven’t thought of getting legal help. A qualified attorney can help you obtain a fair and full recovery and deal with insurance claim related challenges.
For a free consultation call Phoenix car accident lawyer John Kelly at the Kelly Law Team at (602) 283-4122.