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How Can I Protect Myself Immediately after an Auto Accident?

An auto accident can be scary and overwhelming. Whether you are a driver, passenger, cyclist, or pedestrian, any sort of collision has the potential to cause serious injuries.

When you are injured in these accidents as a result of another motorist’s negligence, you may understandably wish to consider legal action in the form of a personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury claim can help you recover compensatory damages for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Taking proactive steps in the immediate wake of an auto accident can help you build a strong case. As an accomplished auto accident attorney, I can provide you with some general tips for protecting your rights in these stressful and high-stakes situations.

Make Sure Everyone Is Okay

After any type of crash has taken place, you must be certain that everyone involved is safe. You should never flee the scene of an accident, even when the collision was patently not your fault. Check on your passengers, any other motorists, their passengers, any cyclists, and any pedestrians. If anyone has suffered serious injuries that require immediate attention, call 9-1-1 and request emergency medical assistance.

Contact the Authorities

If the accident caused any injuries and/or over $2,000 in property damage, you are required to call the police and report the incident. Summon law enforcement to the scene so that they can survey the crash site. When they arrive, be sure to clearly explain what happened from your perspective. The responding officer will create an official report, which could become an essential piece of your personal injury case.

Never Admit Fault

No matter the circumstances of the accident, avoid apologetic statements like “I’m so sorry” or “I did not see you coming.” In fact, it is generally best to avoid making any comments about the accident at all, and do not speculate about what led to the collision. Anything you say to other parties involved in the crash could later come up in court, and certain remarks could be deliberately misconstrued as admissions of fault. If other parties ask you questions, be courteous and compassionate but avoid making any definitive statements.

Exchange Contact Information

If you have been in an accident before, you are probably familiar with exchanging car insurance information. Everyone vehicle owner in Alaska is required to carry a certain amount of insurance coverage. In addition to exchanging insurance information, you should also obtain each motorist’s driver’s license number, vehicle registration information, and license plate number. If someone claims they are uninsured, still collect their insurance information. Generally, you should also obtain the names, addresses, and phone numbers of everyone involved in the accident – including any witnesses.

Document the Crash Site

Once everyone is safe and you have procured all of the needed contact information, take several minutes to assess the scene and collect all available evidence. If possible, take photos and videos of each vehicle’s position and any property damage. Be sure to photograph the weather and road conditions as well as any obvious, physical factors that might have contributed to the wreck. Documentation of any visible skid or tire marks can also be invaluable. Take photos of any injuries you sustained, as well.

Visit a Medical Professional as Soon as Possible

It is extremely important that you seek professional medical attention soon after the accident, even if you do not believe you suffered any major injuries. Some injuries will not be immediately obvious and could take time to detect. When you see your doctor, explain that you were recently in a car accident and be exhaustive in noting any pains, aches, or soreness that you may be experiencing. Keep records of how you are feeling and how the consequences of the accident are impacting your day-to-day quality of life. Make sure you obtain copies of all relevant medical records involving accident-related injuries and track expenses associated with your recovery.

Contact Your Insurance Company

No one likes dealing with insurance companies, but you will likely need to get in touch with your carrier soon after the crash. Most insurance policies require you to report a crash within several days of the incident. Carefully review your policy’s language to confirm any filing deadlines and be sure to make the necessary filings on time.

Seek Qualified Legal Representation

By now, you will hopefully have thorough documentation of the crash site, an official police report documenting what happened, medical records detailing any sustained injuries, and contact information for all involved parties. You will also probably have a clearer idea of what expenses you have incurred as a direct result of the incident. The next step is to hire an experienced legal professional that can help you recover the damages you deserve.

As an auto accident lawyer, I have over two decades of experience handling personal injury claims and have recovered millions of dollars in damages for my clients. I understand how Alaska courts adjudicate auto accident claims and can provide you with seasoned and comprehensive guidance. I am not afraid of going to court and will fight tirelessly to secure a favorable outcome in your case.

The Law Offices of David Henderson offer free initial consultations. If you have been injured in an auto accident due to someone else’s negligence, do not hesitate to call (888) 295-6566 or contact me online.