What Steps Should I Take After a Car Accident?
If you have ever been in a car accident in Baltimore, you know it can be extremely stressful. The shock of the event can cause emotions to run high, and you may not know what to do. This is especially true when there are serious injuries or fatalities involved. Sadly, car accidents cause over two million injuries and disabilities every year, and you should prepare yourself for an accident because you never know when it could happen.
Nearly 40,000 people are killed every year on America’s roads and accidents cost consumers/insurance companies over $200 billion a year. Even the most responsible drivers can be seriously injured in a car accident when they least expect it. To avoid making a bad situation worse, it is helpful to know what steps to take immediately following a car accident. Using this information helps our car accident lawyers resolve your case. The following are steps to take after a car accident in Baltimore:
Remain at the scene of the accident: This is especially true if there are injuries or property damage. If you leave before help arrives, you could face hit-and-run charges. Even if you are afraid the accident was your fault, wait for police to arrive. You can explain the situation to the officer on the scene, and they will complete a police report. Do not offer too much information to the police because they may not understand the situation or investigate thoroughly. You should, however, record the name and badge number of any responding officers. Ask for the police report number and forward that information to your lawyer.
Check the condition of others involved: If you are physically able to get out of your car and walk around, check on the condition of other people involved in the accident. If another victim appears to be unconscious or has a neck injury, do not attempt to move them, unless not doing so would put their life in danger. This is a good time to ask any victims if they are alright; you may need this information if they lie about what happened when a lawsuit is filed.
Move to the shoulder: If the wreck is relatively minor, move to the side of the road or the shoulder. If you cannot move your vehicle, get to the side of the road as quickly as possible. When the police arrive, they can put up a barrier, move traffic, and protect your vehicle. Standing by your vehicle puts you at an even greater risk of injury.
Call 911: Some people may need medical attention due to internal injuries that you cannot see. Also, a report from the EMT or ambulance company should be used when you file your lawsuit. It is much more difficult to obtain medical information about the other drivers if they leave the scene without seeing a medical professional.
Document the scene: Take pictures of the accident scene. You can establish where every car stopped when the accident happened, and you can take pictures of signs in the area, debris on the road, and give your lawyer an idea of the weather conditions. You might want to take pictures of your injuries to corroborate your story.
Exchange information: Once you confirmed that no one is seriously hurt, exchange personal information, names, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance information. If drivers leave the scene without giving you any information, try to get a picture of their license plate. You can give a description of a hit-and-run driver to the police, and you should pass all this information on to your lawyer.
Collect witness statements: You or someone at the scene should try to collect witness statements about the accident. Get the name and phone number of every witness. If you can take a video of their statement on your phone, that will help your lawyer investigate your case.
Be cautious when discussing the incident: It may be tempting to apologize for the accident, even if you are merely trying to be friendly. Unfortunately, the other person may interpret your apology as an admission of guilt. Only speak to your lawyer or the police. If the other person’s insurance company calls, tell them you will have your lawyer contact them.
Report the incident to your insurance company: You must exhibit the same level of caution with your insurance company as you would with another driver’s insurance company. You can tell the insurance company that you were in an accident; you are safe or going to the hospital, depending on the situation; and you will follow up with them in due time. Do not give your insurance company a full statement. Your insurance company could use your words against you when they try to deny you the coverage you deserve. An expert lawyer will help you provide a statement to the insurance company when you file your claim.
Seek medical attention: Even if the injury seems minor, it is in your best interest to have a medical professional examine you. This is why you called 911 when the accident occurred. Head and neck injuries can be particularly debilitating, and other injuries may not appear right away. A physician can also rule out any internal injuries. Make sure that you document all doctor’s appointments, including physical therapists, chiropractors, and other medical professionals. Americans have a bad habit of trying to walk off their injuries, which could cause even more damage. You deserve to be compensated if you were hurt.
Retain your medical information: Keep copies of all tests, prescriptions, and bills for any other treatment you may have received. You can ask your doctor for a treatment plan that explains the treatment you need in the future, and you can ask for an estimated cost that you should forward to one of our attorneys.
Avoid accepting early settlement offers: Do not settle a claim without consulting your lawyer first. Before you sign anything, make sure your injuries have been treated as some may not show up for days or weeks following the car accident.
Know your rights: In the state of Maryland, you have three years from the date of the injury to file a claim. If you wait to file your claim, you might miss your window. Help prove your case without the assistance of a Baltimore car accident lawyer.
Do I Have Other Legal Recourse?
You can file a wrongful death lawsuit against a negligent driver or manufacturer, but you must consult with a lawyer before any lawsuits can be filed. You cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit unless you are a parent, child, or spouse of the deceased. If there is no remaining family, a relative that is related by blood or marriage can file the suit if they substantially depended on the deceased. The statute of limitations in Maryland is two years from the date of the death.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect the Rights of Car Accident Victims
When it comes to protecting your legal rights and making sure that you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries, the dedicated Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are committed to securing the best possible outcome. We will not stop fighting for you until justice has been served. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, allowing us to represent victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.