An accident that causes a personal injury can be bewildering. Even if you have learned ahead of time what to do in case of an accident, that information can seem to go right out of your head in the adrenaline-pumping trauma of the moment. Nevertheless, your actions immediately following the accident can determine the course of your legal action against the responsible party, and possibly influence how much you can recover. The two most important steps to take after a personal injury are to gather evidence and to seek medical attention, not necessarily in that order.
If you are gravely injured, you should seek medical attention before attempting to gather evidence at the scene. However, if your injury does not seem to be an emergency, you should try to gather evidence right away. This involves talking to witnesses and obtaining contact information from them so you can get in touch with them later and taking pictures of the scene of the accident. If it is a car accident, you should exchange insurance information with the other driver and call the police to write up an accident report. Whenever possible, it is best to gather evidence as soon as you can after the accident so it doesn’t have time to get lost, altered, or tampered with. If you do have to go to the hospital immediately after the accident, return to the scene to gather evidence as soon as you can.
Seek Medical Attention
Bleeding, protruding broken bones, loss of consciousness, severe pain, and neurological symptoms such as blurry vision or ringing in the ears are all signs that you should seek immediate medical attention following an accident. If serious symptoms such as these are not present, you may be able to defer medical attention until after you gather evidence. However, you should not wait too long to receive medical attention. Not only does that provide an opportunity for your injuries to worsen in severity, but it can also undermine your personal injury case.
Seeking medical attention after an accident serves a dual purpose. The first and most obvious is to treat your wounds to prevent dangerous complications and promote healing. The second is to obtain objective medical records related to your accident which you can eventually use as evidence in your personal injury case.
These two tasks you can usually accomplish on your own. At that point, however, you may want to contact a personal injury lawyer, like from Davis & Brusca, who can guide you through the process from that point on.