Every morning we leave our houses to start our busy days. We schedule around work, children, appointments, and leisure, but never once for the unexpected. We don’t think over 18,000 people, every day, never make it to their jobs or their appointments because they are involved in car accidents.
If you are one of the thousands of people involved in a car accident every day in the United States, and more specifically in the state of Ohio, here is what you need to know to protect yourself and your rights:
1. Safety First. If you are involved in a minor accident and do not sustain any serious injuries, you should move your car to the side of the road. Leaving your car on the road can be dangerous and can result in other accidents. In the event of a more serious collision, where cars cannot be be moved, you should remain in your car, with your seat belt fastened, and your hazard lights on, until help arrives.
2. Call the Police. It is very important to call the police immediately after a collision. First and foremost, a police officer will get you the help and medical attention you need. You should never assume you aren’t injured, because injuries may become apparent hours, days, and even months after a car accident. Furthermore, you will need a police report to file an insurance claim. When you speak to the police, try to be as accurate as possible about what happened because the police report is the most reliable form of evidence for your personal injury claim. Finally, if possible, make sure the other driver is providing accurate statements for the police report, as well.
3. Exchange and Record Contact Information. Getting contact information for the other driver involved in the accident will save a lot of time and headache later on in the legal process. If possible, try to obtain the following information from the other driver: name, phone number, address, insurance company, policy number, license plate number, and driver’s license number. While talking to the other party, remain as calm as possible, be respectful of the other driver, and don’t volunteer anymore information than you have to about yourself or the accident.
4. Take Photos. As soon as you walk away from a car accident, you will start to forget important details about what happened. Do your best to document as much about the accident as possible. The best way to do this is through pictures. Take pictures of the scene of the collision, the car/property damage, personal injuries, and anything else you think might be important.
5. See a Doctor. Always seek medical attention following a car accident. As I mentioned above, injuries sometimes don’t appear for hours, days, or even months after an accident. Also, some injuries are internal and impossible to recognize. Only a trained medical professional should treat you after an accident. Go to the emergency room immediately and make sure you act in accordance with all follow-up instructions/treatment.
6. Notify your Insurance Company. After an accident, notify your insurance company immediately. Ask about any benefits you might have, especially for your medical bills.
7. Keep a File. Keep all documents regarding your accident organized and in a file. This may include:
- Accident reports
- Claim numbers
- Contact information for the other party
- Contact information for your claims adjuster
- Receipts for any expenses you may have incurred from the accident
- Any and all medical documentation about your injuries
- A daily log
- Pictures you took at the scene of the accident
- Property damage documentation
- Any other important details
8. Protect your Rights. Consult with an attorney. One of the most important things you should do after an automobile accident is to consult with an attorney. Insurance companies commonly want information from you immediately, so it is important to know your legal rights in the state of Ohio. Furthermore, everything you do after an accident can be considered evidence in your personal injury case. An attorney will advise you as to what should be done in order to be properly compensated for your injuries.
If you or a family member are ever involved in an accident, keep these points in mind. The legal process can be overwhelming, but with some understanding of the process and help from an experienced accident lawyer, you will get the compensation you need for a true recovery.
Call me right now for a FREE consultation at 1 (800) 556-4769, so I can help you understand your rights. As your Ohio car accident lawyer, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®
Author: Tim Misny | For more than 33 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 1 (800) 556-4769.