A car accident is a terrible experience. In addition to the frightening moments of the collision itself and the inconvenience of being without your vehicle for days or weeks, you may also have been injured, facing hospitalization, follow-up treatment, missed work, and huge medical bills.
It is vital that you understand what to do and that you have a plan in place if this ever happens to you. After all, there’s no time to develop that plan after the accident has happened.
So right now–today–while you are unhurt and your vehicle is in good shape, get started on building your plan to deal with an accident, should it ever happen to you. Get all of these pieces in place so that all you have to do is start the process.
Take Appropriate Legal Steps Immediately
It doesn’t matter how safe a driver you are, or how defensively you drive, if someone else behind the wheel of another car makes a mistake, the result can be a serious collision with your vehicle. The Schwartzapfel personal injury law firm in Manhattan represents many clients who have dealt with this situation, and they stress the importance of a few basic steps.
First, don’t agree to settle things up with the other driver. Get the police to respond and get a report. And don’t assume that you are unhurt. Many injuries are unnoticeable when you’re full of adrenaline, so be sure to get checked out immediately. And finally, don’t agree to any settlement with an insurance company without seeking legal advice. Having a good lawyer is the only way to recover the full and true costs of your accident.
Seek Medical Care
Even a low-speed collision can cause the injuries often seen in car accidents, don’t just “shake it off” and go home to a bottle of aspirin. Many injuries, as noted above, do not cause pain or other symptoms right away, so you need to get to the hospital right away. The tests and images they generate during that visit will establish a baseline so that an injury that becomes more serious later can be linked to the accident.
Be sure to complete your care as well. Many people get tired of regular trips to the doctor or physical therapist, but if you skip out on treatment now and end up needing it after your case is settled, you won’t be able to claim it.
Track Your Costs
It may seem easy enough to keep track of what a car accident costs. After all, there are repair bills for the car and medical bills for you. Simple enough, right? Not exactly.
There are many costs associated with an accident that may escape your attention. Travel for your medical care is a big one; you may rack up a lot of miles, many meals on the road, and even hotel bills getting treatment. There is also the expense of lost wages for your time off as well as those of your spouse or another family member who is staying with you or driving you to appointments.
Get a notebook and start writing down everything you have to spend (and every dollar of earnings someone misses for you) from the moment of your accident so that your case can recover everything you have coming.
A car accident is a very difficult experience. It can prove painful, inconvenient, and expensive, often for months. Sometimes accidents are just a part of life, but if you’ve been injured due to someone else’s carelessness, you will be able to seek restitution for those costs–but only if you have taken the proper steps to document fully the expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.