Important Steps to Take After an Accident
Jan. 13, 2023
Motor vehicle accidents are among the leading causes of injuries and hospitalizations in North Carolina and across the United States. According to statistics from the North Carolina Traffic Crash Facts, there were 276,026 total reported crashes statewide in 2021, causing 114,722 injuries and 1,783 fatalities.
Thankfully, individuals involved in negligent accidents may be entitled to seek compensation for their injuries by filing a claim or lawsuit. However, taking the right steps after an accident is crucial to ensure a successful personal injury claim.
With almost 38 years of experience, I have the diligence and knowledge to assist, guide, and represent clients in their accident cases. As a skilled North Carolina personal injury attorney, I can enlighten you about the vital steps to take after an accident. Also, I will explore your possible options to recover damages and help you pursue your rightful financial compensation.
My firm – Robert Louis Armstrong Personal Injury Attorney – is proud to serve clients across Wilmington, New Hanover County, Onslow County, and Pender County.
Steps to Take After an Accident
When involved in an accident, you should follow the steps below (where possible):
Perform a Safety Check
Do not panic after the accident. Pull over to the roadside, carefully exit your car, and perform a safety check.
Get Immediate Medical Treatment
Call 911 to receive prompt medical attention for injuries to yourself and other accident victims. Here are some reasons to seek immediate medical help from a qualified physician after an accident:
For Your Health and Safety: Getting medical treatment is important for your health, safety, and general well-being. The earlier you see an experienced physician, the faster you can identify hidden injuries and symptoms, receive adequate treatment, and start recovering.
For Proper Documentation: Also, seeking immediate medical treatment can help ensure proper documentation of your injuries. This includes medical reports, clinical exams, doctor's visits, physiotherapy, and other health documents that you might need when filing claims.
To Comply With Insurance: Seeing a doctor can ensure that you're compliant with the insurance requirements and help prevent possible issues with your insurer.
Report to Law Enforcement
Under North Carolina law, individuals involved in a traffic accident must notify the local law enforcement, county sheriff, or the State Highway Patrol if the incident results in bodily injury, death of a person, or property damage of over $1,000.
Complete Necessary Documentation
You should collect and document the following details and records:
Relevant information about the other driver(s) involved in the accident, including the names, phone numbers, insurance information, addresses, vehicle registrations, and license numbers
Accident scene pictures
Witness statements and testimonies
Medical records, including medical expenses, diagnosis, medical reports, therapy, and hospital visits
A personal account of how the accident occurred and the effect on your daily life and ability to work
Notify your insurer about the accident. Some insurance carriers require policyholders and plaintiffs to inform the company immediately after the accident or within a few days.
Hire an Attorney
Finally, retain a skilled attorney to help file your insurance claims and handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance providers involved.
Additionally, do not delay or procrastinate filing your injury claim to avoid losing important documents or forgetting vital details. An experienced North Carolina car accident lawyer can review all the surrounding details of your unique circumstances and enlighten you about some of the potential pitfalls to avoid.
Potential Pitfalls to Consider
When pursuing financial compensation after an accident, it is advisable to avoid the following pitfalls:
Ensure that you file your claims within the required deadline. The statute of limitations for auto accidents and most personal injury claims in North Carolina is three years.
Do not file a claim against an uninsured at-fault driver. Rather, file an uninsured driver's claim with your insurer.
Don't accept the first settlement offer, as it is often low. Your lawyer can help you negotiate a better settlement or sue the insurer.
Also, consider all accident-related expenses and damages before you accept the settlement offer from the insurer. It must cover all your injuries, damages, or losses.
Lastly, only settle your injury claims when you fully recover or upon reaching Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).
A practiced lawyer can walk you through the personal injury claims process and help you seek the financial justice you deserve.
Protect Yourself With the Help of an Attorney
The period after an accident can be emotional and unsettling. However, what you do or avoid doing can have a significant impact on the outcome of your injury claims. Work with a highly-skilled personal injury attorney after an accident for detailed guidance and to help protect your legal rights.
At Robert Louis Armstrong Personal Injury Attorney, I'm committed to offering personalized legal guidance and vigorous representation to accident victims and their loved ones. Using my extensive knowledge, I can walk you through the often complex claims process. I will advocate for your best interests and help you seek fair financial compensation to cover medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other available damages.
Contact me at Robert Louis Armstrong Personal Injury Attorney today to schedule a simple case evaluation with an experienced car accident lawyer. I can guide you through the legal processes involved and help improve your chance of a successful outcome in your claim. My firm is proud to serve clients across Wilmington and throughout all of North Carolina, including New Hanover County, Brunswick County, Pender County, and Onslow County.