It’s Every Driver’s Fear: Getting in a Car Wreck.
According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, a car accident in Alabama is reported every 3 minutes and 20 seconds and a person is injured every 11 minutes. (1) With statistics like these, there is a high probability that you or a loved one could be in need of a Mobile, Alabama Car Accident Lawyer at some point in your life. If you do find yourself in a car accident in Alabama, it’s important to ensure that you are prepared with the proper steps to protect yourself.
It is almost inevitable that many confusing thoughts and emotions will run through your mind after a traumatic experience such as an auto accident. If you do find yourself in a highly stressful situation such as a car accident in Alabama, it could be hard to think clearly. Who should you notify? Do you exchange information with the other driver? What if you’re hurt? Should you call the police? Should you stay in your car?
It’s completely understandable to feel overwhelmed, upset, and confused – which is why knowing which steps to take after a car accident in Alabama is so important. If you prepare beforehand, it will ensure that you can properly protect yourself by avoiding costly mistakes that could hurt your chances of recovering damages.
Stop! Never drive away from the scene of a car accident in Alabama, even a minor one. Even though this should be obvious, it needs to be said. Never leave the scene of a car accident until every aspect has been fully processed. This is even more relevant if serious injuries are involved. If you leave the scene of an accident where someone was injured or even killed, you can be charged with serious criminal offenses.
Always, always, always stay at the scene of the accident.
Before you do anything else, check yourself and then the other passengers in your car for injury. If anyone has been injured, call 911 immediately. If you have been seriously injured, try to move as little as possible to avoid any further injury and wait for emergency personnel to arrive on the scene.
Once you have assessed everyone inside your vehicle, look outside. Where are you? What did you hit? Can you see any other people or anyone else in danger? If something outside the car is unsafe – remain inside the vehicle until help arrives.
If at all possible, move to the side of the road or a sidewalk. If your car is drive-able, try to move it to the side of the road as well. You don’t want to be sitting in the middle of the road in a disabled car, putting you at further risk of being hit by another car.
If it is unsafe to stay inside the vehicle, get yourself and anyone else out immediately – but move anyone with injuries as carefully as possible. Remember that yourself and those that were involved in the car wreck with you may be exhibiting signs of shock, which is known to mask injuries. Be aware of this condition, and wait for the professionals to arrive for help.
It is imperative to ALWAYS call the police after a car accident in Alabama . No matter what is said by the other person involved in the car wreck, you must get a police report (no matter how minor). Once the report is obtained, make sure you file this report immediately. The police report documents your account of what happened and serves as valuable evidence should your require a Mobile, Alabama Car Accident Lawyer.
The accident report is also a preventative measure to protect against those involved in the accident from making false claims later. You should always make a police report directly after a car accident in Alabama unless a serious injury whisks you away from the scene. If that is indeed the case, make sure you contact the police as soon as possible to tell your story. Also, always get a copy of the police report and file it in your records.
In order to protect yourself, as well as have sufficient evidence if you need to file a claim, it’s important to document the accident as much as possible. If it is safe to do so, take meticulous notes while the details are still fresh on your mind.
If you happen to have a camera in your vehicle, or a cell phone equipped with a camera, you should take pictures of the vehicles if there is visible damage, as well as any visible injuries you may have. Photos can serve as very important evidence when you file your claim and begin the legal process.
Even if it’s the last thing you want to worry about after a car accident in Alabama, taking immediate pictures and notes is your best course of action. If you are physically sound and can accomplish this, you will have strong evidence that stands up in court. While it can be chaotic after a car wreck, this is the best time to document the accident details because the evidence is fresh, and it has not been touched or tampered with.
Even if you believe the accident is minor, make sure you obtain all the other person’s relevant information. Occasionally, the other driver might try to leave the scene of the car wreck or ask you not to report the accident. By no means should you listen to this request.
Even minor car wrecks could cause injuries that are delayed in appearance, but arise over the next day or week. If you wake up the next day with injuries after failing to take the other person’s information, you have set yourself up for an even more difficult road ahead tracking the other person down, or trying to prove the car wreck occurred.
Be up front, honest, and make sure you gather all of the below information:
You should notify your insurance company of the accident right away. It’s always best if you are the first one to call on an accident, rather than allowing the other driver or their insurance company to report a claim first before you call. It is also absolutely critical that you cooperate thoroughly when telling them the details about the accident. Be clear on the extent of your injuries. If you fail to report the accident, even if you do not plan to file a claim with your insurer, you may violate the terms of your policy.
Unfortunately insurance companies may try to take advantage of you. There have been instances when they try to get information that can assist them in decreasing the value of, or denying your claim. Do not ever admit fault, or sign anything without talking to an experienced Mobile, Alabama car accident lawyer first.
Note: If the other driver’s insurer contacts you, be very careful of what you say. If the adjuster requests a recorded statement, decline until you have spoken to a car accident lawyer.
It’s essential to be examined by a medical professional following an accident. Even if you have minor injuries, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible. Symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and pain, might not appear for hours or days following a crash. Make sure you get documentation and pictures of any injuries you sustained after a car accident in Alabama.
You will also need to seek any appropriate medical treatment which can be expensive, but don’t try to tough it out. An experienced Mobile, Alabama car accident lawyer can get you full compensation for your medical bills. Keep records of all medical bills and lost wages, as this will be helpful when you file your personal injury claim.
At no point in time should you admit fault to an accident. Admitting fault may hurt your chances of collecting damages at a later time. Even if you believe you caused the crash, you could be incorrect. There could be many factors that you did not consider that could have contributed to your car accident in Alabama.
Also, it is possible for both drivers to be partially at fault, so remember to keep your cool and never admit any wrongdoing. Admitting fault to a police officer or an insurance agent will be difficult to overcome if you actually were not at fault and decide to pursue a claim later.
Regardless of the severity of your car wreck in Alabama, it is always best for you to consult with a professional to discuss your options. An experienced Mobile, Alabama car accident lawyer at Taylor Martino P.C. will assess your accident and aid in protecting your rights.
Having a lawyer is especially crucial if you suffered severe injuries, as they will help negotiate with your insurance company and fight to get you the highest compensation possible. If you’ve been injured in a Car Accident in Alabama, it is your right to take legal action.
If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, the Mobile, Alabama Car Accident Lawyers at Taylor Martino are here to help. We offer a free consultation where we will help you evaluate your options and decide the right course of action for you—whether that means negotiating you a fair settlement or filing a lawsuit.