What you do in the minutes and first few days after becoming the victim of a major auto accident will make a great deal of difference in your ability to receive compensation and damages for your injuries. Your exact experience will be unique, and your ability to do some of the things listed here will depend on how badly you get injured. But taking as many of the five steps outlined here will make it easier for you to file and succeed with personal injury insurance claims and civil lawsuits.

Call 911

Alerting police and emergency medical services to a crash is actually the law. Leaving the scene of an accident on a public road or in a parking lot without reporting it leaves you open to hit and run charges, even if you did not cause the wreck.

Beyond complying with Ohio statutes, getting police and EMTs involved immediately after a collision

  • Allows injured people to receive possibly lifesaving medical care
  • Creates an official report that names the driver investigators believe to be at fault
  • Ensures all the drivers involved give their names, contact information, and insurance details

Take Pictures and Speak With Witnesses

Smartphones enable people to record every event, including car crashes. Photos and videos can provide important details about how a wreck happened and what the immediate results were.

Witness statements can also play key roles in supporting a crash victim’s version of events. In addition to asking bystanders and Good Samaritans the basic question, “What did you see?” write down the phone numbers of people who may be willing to corroborate details for insurance company representatives or to testify at a trial. Calling in witnesses can prevent having a claim denied for lack of evidence.

Be aware that taking pictures and talking to witnesses in the aftermath of an auto accident is often difficult, and sometimes unsafe. Do not risk your own health or anyone else’s, especially since traffic cameras, security cameras, and dashboard cameras in police cruisers will often capture much of the footage you would. Also, crash scene investigators will canvas witnesses. A hardworking Columbus, Ohio, personal injury lawyer will make sure his or her client receives all of this information.

Go to the Emergency Room

You may not have a choice but to wake up in the hospital. Even if you walk away from a crash, though, visiting a doctor to get checked out always makes senses. Adrenaline can mask pain from injuries as serious as broken bones, and the symptoms of a concussion may not show up for hours.

Call a Columbus, Ohio, Personal Injury Lawyer

Consulting with a local plaintiff’s attorney who has extensive experience helping injured car crash victims will help you understand and protect your rights when dealing with police investigators, insurance companies, and court officials. You will also be able to get advice on how to speak with and do paperwork with your own insurance company.

Most insurance policies require policyholders to self-report auto accidents even when someone else is completely responsible. Doing so is a good idea in all events because you will probably need to receive some money through your own policy to cover immediate expenses like doctor bills and car repairs. Some of the funds received this way will get paid back from a settlement with or judgment against the at-fault driver.

Last, hiring a personal injury attorney puts an expert in your corner who can calculate dollar amounts for fair and sufficient compensation and damages. Your legal ally will then fight on your behalf to secure payment.

Keep Meticulous Records

Create paper and computer folders for every piece of paper, email, text exchange, and conversation related to your accident. A short list of what needs to go into your files includes

  • Official police report
  • Photos and videos of the crash scene and damage to your vehicle
  • Medical bills
  • Prescription orders
  • Treatment plans
  • Notes from your doctor that excuse you from work or limit your activities
  • Notes on phone calls with insurance reps
  • Notes on conversations with attorneys
  • Your written description of the crash and its consequences

All of this documentation can (and likely will) be used as evidence to support your personal injury claims.

When you need to file a claim after getting hurt in an auto accident, consider reaching out to a Columbus Ohio personal injury lawyer with Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman. The initial consultation will cost you nothing, so call 1-800-678-3318 or request an appointment online.