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What to Do If You’re in a Car Accident

By : Donna M. Di Donato - Sep 20th, 2016

car accident

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Automobile accidents are a leading cause of injury and death in the Unites States.  According to the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015, the estimated number of people injured on our nation’s roads increased from 2.34 million to 2.44 million.  Unfortunately, a car accident can happen at any time, so it is best to be prepared if you are ever involved in one.

There are important steps you can take to protect yourself in the event of a car accident.  Here are some helpful tips from Decof, Decof & Barry:

  • Immediately after a vehicle accident, stay put until medical personnel and first responders arrive. You may not feel any pain or injuries at first, but it is best for those trained in on-the-scene emergency medicine to examine you and assess your condition before you move or try to get out of the car.
  • If the emergency medical personnel recommends that an ambulance transport you to a medical facility, follow that advice.
  • Whether you are speaking with medical personnel first at the scene or in the emergency room, provide as many details of your current medical condition as possible. Describe ALL of the places where you feel pain, numbness and/or no feeling at all.  Also, let the medical personnel know of all pre-existing medical conditions as well as any medications you are taking.
  • If your medical condition permits, be cooperative and provide law enforcement with as much information. If you are in no condition to do so, you can follow up with police at a later time or they will follow up with you.
  • Also, if your condition permits, use your cell phone to take pictures of the accident vehicles, location, any damage, and the scene BEFORE any vehicles are moved. If family members or friends come to the accident scene, have them take photos for you.
  • If you were not at fault in the accident, seek legal advice. If you have not done so at the time of your contact with a lawyer, in addition to contacting the insurance company for the person at fault, have your lawyer send notification to your automobile insurance carrier.
  • If the at-fault driver’s insurance company contacts you before you have retained a lawyer, do not speak to them. Your conversation may be recorded and it is best that you wait to obtain advice from an attorney.
  • Obtain a copy of the police report. If for any reason you cannot, when you retain a lawyer, they can obtain a copy.
  • If continued medical treatment is necessary after your emergency room visit, follow the advice of the medical professionals and seek additional medical treatment in the specialty recommended. Avoid performing tasks or activities that complicate your medical recovery.  Ask your doctors if you can go back to work, if you can lift over a certain amount of weight, for example, and once you obtain medical guidance, then follow it accordingly.  Sometimes it is helpful to make a list of questions you wish to ask or topics you wish to discuss with your physician.  While the time with your doctor may be short, use it wisely and have your questions/issues in place in order to maximize learning the best way to help yourself.

If there is any change for the worse in your medical condition between office visits, contact your doctor immediately.  Be clear about the changes and be persistent if it is in your best interest to see the doctor sooner than later.  If your doctor’s office is unresponsive to your needs, and your condition is serious, go to the nearest medical facility as soon as possible.

If you have been seriously injured in a car crash, please contact us to speak with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.

Donna M. Di Donato

Donna M. Di Donato practices in the fields of personal injury law, medical malpractice, and wrongful death in the state and federal courts for Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Her litigation practice includes pursuing claims on behalf of pedestrians, bicyclists or other motor vehicle drivers sustaining severe personal injuries or family members who have lost a loved one as a result of an accident, including those caused by drunk drivers. Weekly of Rhode Island has published several articles on the favorable decisions she has obtained. Read full bio.
Sep 20th, 2016|