Oftentimes, when people get into car accidents, they struggle to regain their bearings. It is easy to become disoriented, confused, or even scared. Especially if you sustain an injury, it might be hard to focus on anything but the pain. However, it is important to remember what to do after a car accident injury. Certain steps must be taken to improve the chances of success for your case. The best way to remind yourself of these steps is to keep an accident checklist.
At Gordon & Gordon, we serve the Northwest Louisiana area with passion and dedication. Not only do we handle Shreveport personal injury cases, we also handle workers’ compensation. With 30 years of combined legal experience, you can rest assured that with us, you’re in capable hands. For a case evaluation, please call 318-716-HELP. We don’t accept a cent unless we secure a recovery for you.
What Do You Do After a Car Accident?
As we stated before, it is important to have a plan of action in case of a car accident. Below, we provided a list for you to follow to ensure that you safely and effectively handle the situation.
- Call for help. First, always call the police, even for minor accidents. This brings swift aid to those injured in the crash. Also, many insurance companies refuse to cover accidents unless you provide them with a police report. One you ensure the safety of yourself and those around you, begin gathering information.
- Gather information. For your insurance company, gather the contact information of those involved in the accident, as well as all witnesses. You will need their phone numbers, full names, and driver’s license information at the very least. Additionally, take notes about the weather, time of day, and damage present on vehicles prior to the accident. Determine the insurance status of all parties involved in the accident. Lastly, take down the names and badge numbers of all police officers who arrive at the scene.
- If you have access to a camera, take pictures. Take as many pictures as possible. Include the scene as a whole, the vehicles involved, the property damage, and all visible injuries. Also include photos of evidence, like skid marks or street signs.
- Contact your insurance company. Report the accident as soon as possible. Many insurance companies include requirements for reporting an accident. Missing the deadline means potentially losing the right to file a claim.
- Contact an attorney. Having an attorney present for as much of the process as possible is essential. Do not speak with the insurance company of another driver until you speak with your attorney first.
How Long After a Car Accident Can You File an Insurance Claim?
This depends mainly on which insurance provider you have. Some companies allow as little as one day for you to begin your claims process. The time limit for your claim depends on two main factors.
- Your car insurance provider
- Whether you choose to file an injury claim or property damage claim after the accident
Many insurance companies do not provide a timeline, and simply request that you file your claim as soon as possible. Otherwise, your insurer will have detailed their time limit in the documents they sent when you bought auto insurance from them. We recommend getting with your attorney to look over your insurance policy to determine how soon to file your claim. Additionally, Louisiana’s statute of limitations to file a lawsuit after a car accident is one year from the date of the accident. This time limit applies to both bodily injury and property damage suits.
What If My Accident Injuries Don’t Show Up Right Away?
Sometimes, certain injuries show up later than you might think. For example, whiplash injuries or concussions often display symptoms up to a few days after the injury actually happened. Many times, victims do not feel their injuries due to their body’s production of adrenaline. Adrenaline increases energy and decreases pain, which leads people to falsely believe that they sustained no injuries.
The best way to determine if you sustained non-visible injuries is to see a doctor as soon as possible. A trained medical professional is in the best position to determine whether or not you are truly fine. Also, they will monitor any symptoms you may have already. If you choose to make an injury claim, having medical records to support that the injuries resulted from the accident is helpful.
Lastly, we recommend that you avoid settling right away. Insurance companies like to give lowball offers the first time around. Speak with your attorney about their settlement offer as well as your options. If you sign a settlement agreement right away but injuries show up later, they will not agree to compensate those injuries.
What Not to Do After a Car Accident Injury?
Along with advising you of what to do after a car accident injury, we’ll advise you of what not to do. Although these experiences can be highly overwhelming, knowing what not to do can greatly improve your chances of a settlement. Below, we list some of the actions after a car accident that negatively impact personal injury cases.
- Never leave the scene. Many times, state law requires you to stay at the scene until the police arrive.
- Do not forget to call the police. Their reports are extremely important in personal injury cases, and they can assist with injuries.
- Refrain from letting your emotions get the better of you. We understand that car accidents are frustrating, but try to stay as calm as possible.
- Do not forget to document the accident. Take as many pictures and notes as possible. The more detailed information you provide to your attorney, the better.
- Never admit fault. Honesty is the best policy regarding what happened, but do not openly admit fault. Statements like these can and will be used against you.
- Do not refuse medical treatment. This helps both your personal health and your case.
- Lastly, do not forget to hire an attorney. Even if you don’t think you need one, it is always better to have an attorney at the start.
Should I Get an Attorney After a Car Accident?
Absolutely. An experienced Shreveport personal injury attorney like our own is invaluable in a car accident case, especially one involving injuries. If you sustained injuries from a car accident, you need the injury lawyers at Gordon & Gordon. We provide dedicated legal service to all of Northwest Louisiana, and we can’t wait to get started on your case. For more information or a case evaluation, please call 318-716-HELP. Remember: we don’t accept a penny unless we secure a recovery for you!