Getting in a car accident is scary, but unfortunately it happens all too often around the world, including in the United States. The statistics are frightening and worrisome – in the U.S. over 37,000 people are killed in car accidents each year while another 2.35 million more are hurt.
One of the most helpless feelings is being injured in an accident that was not your fault.
That happened recently to active duty soldier Rudolph Fetus, 24, who is also studying engineering. He was a rear passenger in a vehicle with two other active-duty members of the military when their car crashed into a tree in Brooklyn. Fetus, who was sleeping in the car at the time of the crash, was seriously injured in the accident and taken to the hospital in serious condition.
Khalil Todd, age 21 and a soldier from Milwaukee, was driving the 2013 Nissan Altima when it hit the tree. Police were investigating whether the accident occured because he dozed off and lost control of the car.
After being injured in a car accident, like Fetus, the first days and weeks of recovery can be especially overwhelming and disheartening as you may be in shock and pain, suffering from trauma, struggling emotionally and physically with debilitating injuries, and bombarded by financial concerns, insurance issues, the prospect of lost wages, and a long list of other matters that need to be dealt with. The stress resulting from all this can have a negative effect on all aspects of your life.
While an accident will always be a traumatic incident, the steps you take in the moments following the accident can critically affect your ability to be compensated for your pain, suffering, and potential loss of income.
The first step to take – for the sake of your health and for your legal situation – should be seeking medical attention, even if you believe your injuries are not serious as problems can manifest days after the accident. If possible, take numerous pictures of the location of the accident, as well as of your injuries so you have physical evidence. Obtain contact info of any witnesses as well.
Also, at the first opportunity, take detailed notes of your injuries, any treatment you received, the names of any doctors or any other professionals you saw, and of how you are feeling each day after the accident. Having clear records is very useful, especially during a time when you will be under severe stress and can easily forget important details or the timeline of events. Along the same lines, keep copies of all documents, emails, correspondences, forms and receipts related to the accident.
Another important step to consider when a car accident results in bodily injury is hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you against the insurance company. According to
Strom & Associates, “the attorneys working for the insurance companies are highly skilled at denying liability and minimizing the compensation that accident victims receive.” As such, it is imperative to have a skilled and experienced attorney who will protect your rights, stand up to and negotiate aggressively with the insurance companies, and pursue full compensation and other forms of available relief for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and more.
As a car accident is unfortunately an all too common occurrence and a traumatizing incident, it is crucial to know in advance what steps to take to protect your immediate and long term rights.