July 17, 2023 | Car Accident
Getting into a vehicle accident is a terrifying experience, and the process can become even more confusing when it comes to determining fault. If you have been in a vehicle accident that was not your fault, there are various steps that you need to take to help ensure that you received the medical care you need and to protect any eventual insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Your number one priority after a vehicle accident that was not your fault is to seek medical treatment. If you have obvious injuries or any pain after the incident, make sure that you are evaluated by emergency medical services and take an ambulance to the hospital. If you do not take the ambulance to the hospital, have a friend or family member take you to an emergency room immediately.
Even if individuals do not have obvious injuries right after an accident, it is important to go to a doctor for an evaluation as soon as possible. Often, the signs and symptoms of vehicle accident injuries do not appear until hours or even days later. Prompt medical care is important, not only for your health and well-being but also the optics for the insurance carrier.
Nearly every vehicle accident must be reported in West Virginia. The police need to come to the scene so that they can conduct an initial investigation and fill out the accident report. Insurance carriers are going to need an accident report in order to move forward with your injury claim. Additionally, if another party was responsible for the incident, the incident report may note that down.
Even if the police come to the scene and conduct an investigation, our Martinsburg car accident lawyers encourage individuals to obtain as much evidence as possible at the scene. Depending on the severity of the incident and the safety of the surrounding area, it may not be possible to gain much evidence. However, if possible, individuals can use a camera on their phones to take photographs of vehicle damage, injuries, debris, weather and traffic conditions, and more. If there were eyewitnesses to the incident, their names and contact information should be written down so that they can be located later on to give statements.
After an incident that was not your fault, you need to be very careful about what you say. It can be second nature to want to say something like, “I’m sorry this happened,” even if an incident was not your fault. However, saying something like that could be taken as an admission of fault by others at the scene of the incident.
Your communication with other parties involved should only extend to checking on their injuries, ensuring they receive medical care, and obtaining insurance and contact information.
You also need to be wary of what you say around law enforcement officials at the scene, because what you say could end up in the official accident report.
You should reach out to a skilled personal injury attorney right away. Your attorney can step in as soon as possible and continue the investigation into the incident, take over communication with other parties involved, and help you negotiate a fair settlement.