When You’re In An Accident
When you get into an automobile accident, it’s normal to feel a surge of adrenaline. Your body is an amazing organism, and when it detects potential danger, including injury, your body doesn’t have to think about what to do. It starts protecting itself. What does that mean to you? It means you may not feel immediate pain because your body has done a pretty effective job creating a human cast around all the important parts. But that immediate “protection” generally only lasts for a short time, and as it wears off, you may start to realize that the crash impacted you more than you initially might have thought.
So what should you do when the adrenaline surges and you feel overwhelmed? First, take a deep breath, and follow these steps after the accident. Many of the steps will happen rapidly, so stay calm, and execute them as quickly and calmly as possible.
- Before doing anything else, make sure everyone in your vehicle is okay.
- If everyone is okay, check your car to assess any property damage.
- Then check to make sure anyone else involved in the accident is okay. You must not attempt to move anyone who might have neck or back injuries or is unconscious.
- If someone is seriously injured, the best thing you can do is get professional help immediately. Call 911 or your local police or fire department for assistance and guidance.
Call Police. Stay at the Scene
It’s essential to report any accident to the police when there is potential injury or significant property damage. However, in Nevada (and many states,) police officers will not respond to an accident when the parties involved report they are not injured. That’s why that immediate surge of adrenaline is tough because it often masks the injury you will likely notice when the adrenaline subsides, and the inflammation starts to calm down. I recommend being prudent and notifying the police after any accident because insurance companies often rely on their report when deciding who is at fault for the crash.
Plus, Nevada state law states all drivers must notify the police if the accident results in death, bodily injury, or property damage that exceeds $750. That $750 won’t cover an Urgent Care visit, and almost all property damage can easily exceed $750 in this day and age. Be smart, don’t question whether you should contact the authorities if you think you will need your vehicle repaired or you think you need to see a doctor.
Get as much information and evidence as you can from the accident scene. You won’t get another chance. You might think you will remember details later, but the truth is the more time passes after an event, the less likely you will be able to remember the details of that memory. It’s best to capture all the information as soon as it occurs.
What kind of information?
The at-fault driver’s name, ID, and whenever possible, phone number, address, and license plate can be incredibly useful in finding their insurance company if they do not give you their insurance information.
If there were witnesses, get the same information and save it on your phone immediately. We even recommend sending a text message and confirming receipt. If the at-fault driver later changes their story, that independent witness is the only other person who can testify to what they saw when the crash happened. Without them, it becomes word against word, and the insurance companies are happy to take the word of their own insured, which doesn’t help you when they were at fault for the injury. It is smart to ask witnesses to provide a recorded statement on your phone’s voice recorder.
It’s also smart to capture the at-fault driver reporting they were also at fault on video. They are generally less willing to help than an independent witness. This information is valuable if you are working with a personal injury attorney. It can mean the difference between finding coverage and being stuck without enough information to attach the driver to any auto insurance liability coverage.
Take A Lot Of Pictures
We’ve all heard the old adage: a picture is worth a thousand words. This sage advice is true when it comes to injury accidents. Take pictures of all the damage to all vehicles and property involved in the collision. Make sure you can see the vehicles and damage from close range (like six feet from the damage), then step back and take pictures from a distance to see where the vehicles ended up after impact so that you can show your attorney. The more information you gather, the easier it will be to confirm who is at fault and prove that you did not cause the accident. If you have a cell phone, you have a powerful investigative tool.
Follow these simple tips to get the most relevant pictures:
- Take lots of photos. There is no such thing as too many. Take photos of the vehicles, the intersection, the surrounding area, and any damage (to people, structures, personal property, and cars). Take photos from different angles, and use body length away from the damage and 5-10 yards away from the damage as a guideline when taking photos. We want to see things close up but also want to see things in context, so stepping back also provides much-needed context.
- Start taking pictures as soon as possible. Many drivers will absolutely take off and drive away without giving you information when given the window of opportunity. We don’t understand it, but if you accept it’s possible you will be armed to protect yourself and shoot a picture of the license plate if that’s the only thing you have time to do. We can find a lot of information if we have at least the basic information about the vehicle that hit you.
- Take photos of your injuries and the at-fault driver’s insurance documents. When we work on your case, we need basic information. Without it, you’re left exposed to injury without recourse.
Taking pictures of the accident scene and property damage can not only show the severity of the impact but can also help your personal injury attorneys and other experts reconstruct what happened at the accident. More at-fault drivers and insurance companies dispute or deny liability after an injury. So be proactive and protect yourself. You don’t need to worry about consent–anything in a public space can be photographed without restriction or fear of legal repercussions.
Report The Accident To Your Insurance Company
Once all the investigation and documentation is done, it’s time to call your insurance agent. You should contact your insurance company as soon as the accident happens so that they can open up a claim for the accident.
This will allow property damage to be handled quickly, and some insurance policies carry rental car coverage should your vehicle not be able to be driven legally. You should make a complete report to your insurance company regarding the damage to your vehicle and a description of what led up to the injury, and you should inform them that you are shaken up and will seek medical attention should your symptoms worsen if you have not yet seen a medical doctor. Make sure you take notes about who you spoke to and when.
Also, you will want to review your current auto policy to understand how you are covered. It’s a good time to ask your agent to send you a copy of your policy. Your attorney will want to review it immediately. If you have questions about your policy, we are here to help you understand your coverage. We want to help you understand whether you purchased the protection you thought you purchased, and if you didn’t, help you understand what all the coverage means so you CAN purchase the coverage you thought you did!
Get Checked Out
For some people, seeing the doctor is the hardest part of the accident. But it’s the most important to your health and long-term enjoyment of your life. Don’t skip this step! You need to see a doctor even if you think you are okay, as many injuries take hours or days to present themself. Additionally, if you do not see a doctor within a short period of time after the accident, the insurance company loves to question whether your injuries actually stem from the crash or from some random activity that is unrelated to the accident.
During your initial visit, make sure you keep track of your doctor’s name and keep the information about the visit in a central location so that you can share it with your accident lawyer. Remember, memories fade as time passes, so capture everything in real-time so it is more accurate than a distant memory. Our office provides each client with a secure link that they can use repeatedly to upload important information throughout their case!
Track Medical Conditions
Your doctor may recommend you keep a journal to note your symptoms and response to treatment. This journal will allow you to keep detailed records of your symptoms and any treatments you receive. When keeping a pain journal, explaining what triggers pain and symptoms and if you do anything to alleviate it is important. Some clients will realize they take Advil or some other over-the-counter pain medication daily, even multiple times daily, to manage the pain and symptoms. If you didn’t do this before, you must tell your doctor you are doing it now.
Pain scales are another messy indication of pain because we all report pain and symptoms differently. Someone who is a high-level athlete or whose work is highly physical probably has a different idea of what a number on a scale of 1-10 means to them than someone who doesn’t exert a lot of physical energy in their day. So you should always ask your doctor what the pain scale means to them, or even better, tell them you aren’t sure it accurately represents your pain and symptoms and that you’d prefer not to use it.
Your journal, or notes, will allow you to keep a detailed record of specific times in the day that you feel pain and symptoms and what activities you can no longer do or have had to modify due to the subject incident. This information is crucial for your accident attorney when working with you on your injury case.
Keep Receipts and Records That Apply to Your Claim
You must save all receipts and records that may apply to your insurance claim. This paper trail may make you whole because you must back up all damage claims with evidence. Records of payments and treatment are evidence. The receipts may include vehicle rental charges, new car seats or other damaged personal property, and medical expenses.
Keep a digital or paper copy of all your receipts and documentation to share information quickly with your legal team. Remember, we’ll provide you with a secure link you can use to upload the information directly to your personal file at Hale. When in doubt, save it. You might be happy that you did. As your case progresses, a potentially inconsequential cost could be precious information. Scan it. Save it. Upload it.
Consult Hale Injury Law Firm
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you need representation. Our personal injury attorneys at Hale Injury Law will ensure you understand your right. We’ll go to battle for you. We handle every case as though it was our family’s injury because our clients matter. In a business that is sometimes checkered with mistrust and bad lawyer jokes Hale Injury Law Firm strives to stand out above the rest. We will earn your trust through open communication and responsiveness.
Let Us Help You
Here at Hale Injury Law, our process is simple. Our accident lawyers in Las Vegas provide honest legal services to accident victims nationwide. Integrity is paramount, but you don’t have to take our word for it because our work will speak for itself. We have an excellent reputation as personal injury lawyers in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada. This comes from our commitment to knowledge, investigation, and ensuring we put the needs of our clients first. That’s why we continue to confidently stand behind the claim that we are the best injury lawyers in Nevada. That’s The Hale Difference. If you’ve been injured and need personal attention from an accident attorney, fill out our inquiry form. You’ll hear from us soon!