Steps To Take After A Car Accident
Our attorneys explain what you need to know
Car accidents happen every day in Oklahoma, but most drivers probably don’t expect to be involved in a crash. In the wake of an accident, you may be left confused and overwhelmed, not sure what to do to move forward physically, emotionally or financially. That’s why knowing what to do right after a crash is so critical.
At Lawter & Associates, PLLC, our car accident lawyers have worked with thousands of people injured in crashes. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling cases involving traffic accidents and understand what it takes to get a successful outcome in your case. Read the steps below to learn more. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, contact us right away to schedule a free consultation and learn your legal options.
What do I do after a car accident?
Try to stay calm so you can assess the situation, then follow these steps:
- Remain at the scene. Unless you need to leave to seek emergency medical attention, you absolutely need to stay where you are. Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious crime in Oklahoma.
- Exchange information with the other driver(s). You need the name, contact information and insurance information for any other motorists involved in the accident. Also get names and contact information for any witnesses.
- Call the police. Law enforcement will investigate and then later generate an official police accident report that will contain important details.
- Don't admit fault. Keep your comments at the scene brief and stick to the facts of what happened. Even saying "I'm sorry" could be used against you in a potential claim.
- Take pictures of the crash scene. Get photographic evidence of any skid marks, vehicle and property damage, and any visible injuries. All of this evidence can be used later to support your claim.
- Seek medical help as soon as possible. Even if you feel fine, you could have an internal injury or traumatic brain injury with delayed-onset symptoms. Make sure you tell your medical provider that you were in a crash.
- Document everything. Start a journal that documents how the accident has affected your life. Keep track of every medical expense, including co-pays, medical bills, prescription medications, and mileage to and from each appointment.
- Notify your insurance company. You need to promptly inform your insurance carrier that you were in an accident, or they may deny your claim. Be truthful but keep your comments brief and stick to the facts of what happened.
- Don't speak to insurance adjusters. If you hear from an insurance company representing another driver, politely decline to speak with them. You are not required to give a statement before you consult with a lawyer.
- Contact an attorney. Call a lawyer to set up a free case evaluation so that you can find out if you have a case and how an attorney can help. A lawyer can serve as your advocate and deal with the insurance company on your behalf.
How long will I be sore after my car accident?
Some crash-related injuries don’t have immediately noticeable symptoms and take time to manifest, which is why you should always seek prompt medical attention after an accident. Any pain or discomfort that you feel after a crash could be a sign of something more serious. Some of the most common injuries that cause delayed pain or soreness include:
- Neck injuries – Whiplash is an injury that can affect the neck and spine. It occurs when a person’s head whips back and forth in a violent, whip-like motion, causing the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the neck to stretch beyond their normal range of motion. A common injury sustained in rear-end car accidents, whiplash may cause headaches, neck pain, neck stiffness, immobility, shoulder numbness, or a tingling sensation in the arm or hand.
- Muscle strains – Along with muscle sprains and tears, a strained muscle can cause pain, soreness, and discomfort after a crash. Hamstrings and back muscles are common parts of the body that are susceptible to injury in a traffic accident. Symptoms may include loss of mobility, spasms, muscle tightness, bruising, and swelling. Any type of tear will most likely require surgery to repair.
- Minor head injuries – Any head injury should be taken seriously, even if it’s considered minor. A concussion, which is technically classified as a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), is a crash-related injury that can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, mood swings, confusion, and sleep problems several days after a crash. Depending on the severity of the concussion, most patients can recover in a few months with appropriate treatment. Multiple concussions, especially within a short time period, may cause severe or permanent brain damage.
How do I know if I need a lawyer?
If you were injured in a crash that wasn’t your fault, you may want to seek legal help if your insurance claim was denied or you’re having a hard time with the insurance company getting fair compensation for your accident-related expenses. An attorney can help you get appropriate medical care, deal with the insurance company on your behalf, negotiate a settlement, or take your case to court and represent you, if necessary.
Let Lawter & Associates fight for you
The sooner you get us on your side after an accident, the better. We can start our investigation, build your case for fair compensation, and guide you through this complex process. Give us a call or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation today. We're here for you every step of the way.