A severe car accident in Maryland is upsetting, stressful, and painful. If another driver caused your injuries, you might need to file a claim or lawsuit to recover damages. Take the steps below to protect your health and legal options. Then talk to an experienced Baltimore, Maryland, car accident lawyer at Pinder Plotkin if you think you have a case.
Critical Steps to Take After a Car Accident
The immediate few minutes after a car accident are intense. You might need to be thinking more clearly; however, it’s essential to take these actions after a car accident:
Stay Calm and Look for Injuries
Remaining calm if someone hits your vehicle is difficult, but take a breath. Then, check yourself and your passenger for injuries. If there are other vehicles involved, check if they need medical assistance.
Many people do not realize they are injured after a car accident. But if someone is hurt in another vehicle, you are required by Maryland law to help or call for medical help. Ask someone else to assist if you are too injured to help others.
If Possible, Move the Vehicles
If your vehicle can be moved, it should be driven out of traffic. But do not drive away, or you could be charged with hit and run. Also, turn on your hazard lights or put out road flares. Many car accidents worsen when another vehicle hits the previous accident, leading to more damage.
Call Law Enforcement
You should always call the police after any Baltimore accident. However, the police may only appear for a few minor collisions.
If the police do come, write down the responding officer’s badge number, name, and contact details. They will write an accident report that may name who was liable for the accident. The accident report is critical information your car accident attorney can use to prove who was negligent.
Did the police not come to the crash scene? Then, you should go to the nearest police station to report the accident. It always helps in a car accident case to have the police report. Also, you protect yourself from the other driver saying you hit them and took off.
Document The Crash Scene
If you are not too injured, document as much of the crash scene as possible. Or, ask a passenger to do it for you. You should use your cell phone camera to take photos and video of the vehicle damage, injuries, and car positions. The police will move the vehicles, so it can help your case to document where they were after the accident.
Recording each vehicle’s position before the police move them could be critical to your case. It will help the insurance adjuster to understand what happened. Also, your attorney may hire an accident reconstruction expert to build your case. The more helpful information you have after the accident, the better.
Further, grab a piece of paper or napkin and draw a rough sketch of the crash scene. Record an audio file of how the accident unfolded, too.
Do Not Talk About Crash Responsibility
Remember the old police adage that everything you say can be used against you? It’s true. Emotions run high after car crashes, and it may be tempting to assign blame for the accident. Or, you may say you were at fault when you weren’t.
You should say as little as possible to everyone at the crash scene other than the police. If a witness hears you take the blame for the accident, it could hurt your claim or lawsuit. Check if anyone needs medical assistance, but refrain from discussing the accident as much as possible.
Call Your Auto Insurance Company
Some drivers may try to negotiate a cash deal to handle the property damage. But not telling your insurance company can expose you to liability later. Your auto insurance policy requires you to inform them if you are in an accident.
The auto insurance company handles car accidents daily and can advise on the next steps.
See Your Physician
How many people want to go to their doctor? Most of us would like to skip it most of the time. However, going to your doctor is essential after a car accident; the sooner, the better.
You may feel ok after the crash, but an adrenaline rush could mask the pain from your pulled back, neck, or injured limb. After a few days, the pain could be overwhelming. But you didn’t get immediate treatment. So now the insurance company claims you weren’t hurt.
By seeing a doctor immediately, you have your bases covered if you have serious injuries. But, of course, the worst thing that can happen is you have a lot of medical bills from the other driver’s negligence. But you didn’t see a doctor immediately, so their insurance company denies liability!
Don’t Talk to Their Auto Insurance Company
You need to talk to your insurance company after the crash. However, it’s always a mistake to speak to the other driver’s insurance provider without an attorney present.
The goal of the liable driver’s insurance provider is to reduce your claim or completely deny liability. Therefore, anything you say about the crash to their insurance adjuster can be twisted against you.
If their insurance adjuster wants to talk to you the next day, don’t do it. They will want to record the conversation, too. Either have your attorney handle it or tell them to talk to your insurance company.
Contact Maryland Car Accident Lawyers Today
Being in a bad car accident is upsetting and painful. But if you don’t take the steps above, the situation could worsen. These steps will increase the odds of getting a fair settlement for your losses.
The Baltimore car accident lawyers at Pinder Plotkin know what your claim could be worth. They can usually get you more money if you take appropriate steps after the accident to maximize your cash value. We are hardworking attorneys for hardworking people and are ready to fight for you. Call Pinder Plotkin today for information about your case.