More than two million Americans are injured in car accidents every year. Hopefully, you will never be one of them, but it is a good idea to educate yourself about car accident injuries so that you will be prepared should you become injured.
What To Do at the Accident Scene
If you are injured in a car accident, the first thing you should do is call 9-1-1 for assistance. If you are unable to call for yourself, ask someone else at the scene to do it for you. Do not attempt to drive yourself to the hospital or let the other driver talk you out of calling. Some types of injuries can be made worse by improperly moving the injured person or may impair your ability to drive, so it is important to be evaluated by a medical professional at the scene.
Common Car Accident Injuries
The injuries most commonly suffered in car accidents include head and brain injuries, neck and back injuries, burn injuries, soft tissue injuries, spinal injuries, and broken bones. Some types of injuries, such as whiplash, are sometimes not immediately apparent at the scene. Whiplash can cause chronic pain that may last for years if left untreated, so if you notice stiffness or pain in your neck in the days following a car accident, it is important to seek medical attention. Resources are available to help you learn more about whiplash injuries.
Keep Track of How Your Injuries Have Affected You
If the other party in your accident was at fault for your injuries, you may be owed compensation for your medical bills and pain and suffering. Compensation for medical bills is pretty straightforward to calculate, but it can be more difficult to put a value on pain and suffering. Keeping a detailed record of your pain levels, decrease in quality of life, missed work, any daily activities you are unable to perform and other details related to how your injury has impacted your life can help your attorney or claims adjuster make a case for the amount of compensation you should receive.
File a Police Report
It is important to gather as much documentation of what happened in your car accident as possible. When you file a police report the officer will investigate the crime scene, speak to the parties involved and interview any witnesses. He will also make a record of any injuries you report and provide you with the other driver's insurance information. This report can be a valuable piece of evidence should the other driver attempt to change his account of events after the fact.
Have Your Injuries Evaluated Before Accepting a Settlement
Even if you are only feeling a little sore, you should have your injuries evaluated before accepting a settlement from an insurance company. You may not realize the severity of your injuries and some injuries do not cause symptoms until days after the accident has occurred. Accepting a settlement early won't bar you from seeking further compensation, but it can make the process more difficult.
Limit Conversation With the Other Driver
You should limit your conversation with the other driver to exchanging insurance information. Do not discuss your injuries or admit fault. You should only discuss the accident with the police, medical professionals, claims adjusters and your attorney. Some drivers may try to talk you out of reporting the accident to the police or the insurance company. It is not a good idea to agree to these requests. Without a police report, the other driver could change her story or give you false information about her identity or insurance information and may agree to pay for your damages at the scene but then refuse.
No one wants to be injured in a car accident, but if it happens to you, you will be in a better position to know what to do if you educate yourself about car accident injuries beforehand. Keeping these six tips in mind will help you navigate the process should you experience a car accident injury.