If you have been hit from behind in your car in a rear-end collision, it’s in your best interests to know what to do at the accident scene and the steps you need to take after. Among these steps is knowing when and if to contact a car accident lawyer to help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for all damages related to the collision.
What To Do After An Accident
Accident scenes are often surreal and chaotic. It is not uncommon for people to get agitated or confused and lash out in anger. Under the circumstances it may be trying, but it is essential that you keep calm and think straight.
- As with any collision, following a rear-ender, there are several things you should do if you can, starting with making sure no one else is injured and then getting your car off the road and out of traffic. This is especially important on busy roadways, streets, and intersections to prevent secondary car accidents.
- Next, dial 911 to report the accident. Obviously, it’s important to get an ambulance there as soon as possible if needed, and by making the call, the accident will be officially documented and recorded by the 911 dispatcher. Do not let the other driver or anyone else talk you out of it. In Maine, by law, accidents must be reported by one of the drivers involved or a person acting on behalf of one of the drivers.
- It’s good to have a civil roadside exchange with the other driver to get insurance information, names, addresses, phone numbers, and even email. Get information from other passengers and witnesses–if there are any. Despite what’s happened, remaining calm throughout the exchange is to your benefit. You can also begin to document what’s happened by taking pictures or videos with your phone to record the damage to the vehicles and the accident scene (whether before or after you move the cars out of the way will be determined by the circumstances at the scene).
- Be sure to get medical attention if you or any passengers need it. Never refuse medical attention at the scene, and never utter, “I’m fine,” if anyone asks you how you feel. Just as many people do not feel the effects of a hard workout until the following day, you may not feel the effects of the collision until hours or days after. If you do not require ambulatory care, you should go to the emergency room on your own or visit your doctor as soon as possible. If an injury results in a personal injury claim, a record of medical care must be documented.
- Finally, you will need to report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Do not elaborate on any details of the accident, speculate on who or what caused it, or admit to any fault. Do not tell your insurance provider that you are “fine” until you have, at the very least, been evaluated by a physician.
When to Contact a Lawyer
After a rear-end collision, it’s important to know what to do, but also your legal options and when you should contact a car accident lawyer. There may be circumstances and mitigating factors that can affect the outcome of who was at fault, some of which may not be favorable to you. It may be that the insurance company attempts to shift responsibility, placing some or all of the liability on you no matter how clear-cut the accident may have been or seemed. On the other hand, it may be that the insurance company is stalling in awarding a settlement or offering you an amount that does not fully compensate you for the damages and injuries you sustained because of the accident.
After you have been in a car accident, a car accident lawyer will ensure you are financially protected. The cost of the accident in property, liability, and medical is likely to be substantial. Damages and injuries can cost you time and money. Your attorney will ensure that any wages for lost time at work or for potential earnings, car repairs or a replacement, medical bills and rehab for you and your loved one, and any other costs related to the accident are fully accounted for in your settlement.
If you find that you have more questions than answers after being hit from behind in a car accident, you should call an experienced car accident attorney. Let Maine’s leading car accident lawyers at Hardy Wolf & Downing fight to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for the damages, injuries, and losses you suffered in a rear-end collision accident.