What Do You Do If You’ve Been Injured In A Car Accident?

After an accident, follow these steps to protect your health and your rights.

Getting into a serious car accident is a terrifying experience. That stress is made even greater when you're injured and you don't know what to do.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to make the experience more manageable. Moreover, taking these steps can improve your chances of recovering compensation for your injuries if the accident was caused by another person's negligence.

Get Immediate Medical Attention

As with any injury, you have a better chance of recovering fully if you seek medical care as soon as possible. For very serious injuries, it is always safest to have an ambulance dispatched to the scene of the accident. Otherwise, have a loved one bring you to the emergency room once it is safe to leave the crash site.

If you hit your head in the crash or start to develop a headache, it's especially important that you seek medical attention right away. These can be indicators of a potentially serious traumatic brain injury.

Sometimes, car accident victims do not notice they are injured until a few days after the accident. This is especially true for injuries to the neck and back, or when muscle soreness gets worse or fails to go away in a reasonable amount of time. If you are even a little suspicious that the pain you experience might be a sign of something bigger, get evaluated by a doctor. Explain to the doctor that you think your injuries were caused by your accident, and be sure that connection is noted in your medical record.

Follow Up With Your Doctors' Orders

Once your injuries have been evaluated and diagnosed, it's important that you follow through with your care plan. If you're supposed to come back for follow-up appointments, do at-home exercises or avoid certain activities that could make your recovery harder, make it a priority. If your doctors have put restrictions on your work, talk with your supervisor to make accommodations.

This is important for two reasons. First, and most importantly, it will help you get better faster. Secondly, it will help your case. Insurance companies are usually more willing to provide fair compensation when injuries are well-documented. Sadly, insurance companies sometimes act unfairly when they believe accident victims have not done enough to speed their own recoveries.

If you don't have health insurance, don't let that stop you from seeking treatment. In Pennsylvania, your car insurance company will pay for your medical treatment pursuant to your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. In Pennsylvania, all drivers are required to carry at least $5,000 in PIP coverage. PIP is sometimes called "no-fault insurance" because it applies regardless of who was at fault in the accident.

Be Wary Of The Insurance Company

It is an unfortunate truth that, after a car accident, the insurance companies are not always on your side. Insurance companies are profit-seeking businesses, and they are often more concerned with minimizing their payouts than with making sure you get full and fair compensation for your losses. This is true both for your own insurer and the insurers of the other vehicles involved in the accident.

For your own protection, do not enter into negotiations or give any recorded statements to any insurance representative without talking to a lawyer first.

Talk To A Lawyer

If you believe the accident was caused, even in part, by another person's negligence, it's a good idea to talk with an experienced personal injury attorney. Ideally, you should do this as early in the process as possible. The attorney will review your case and keep you informed of your rights and options moving forward. If negligence exists, the attorney can help you pursue financial compensation for losses including past and future medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

In addition, you should talk to an attorney if your insurance company is acting unfairly with regard to your medical bills or has stopped paying even though your doctors say you need additional care.

The attorneys at Casale & Bonner, P.C., of Williamsport, represent car accident victims throughout Pennsylvania, as well as out-of-state victims who were injured while traveling in Pennsylvania. We offer free initial consultations in personal injury cases, and do not charge attorneys' fees unless and until we recover compensation for you. If you or a loved one has been injured, call our office to set up your free consultation appointment.