After a Kansas City Car Accident, Don’t Do The Following:
Car accidents happen out of the blue, and when they do, they turn your entire day into a chaotic mess. That’s why it’s important to prepare yourself to handle the aftermath of a car crash should one happen to you. How you react to the situation can make a big difference, especially if you need help from a car accident attorney to file a personal injury (PI) claim. Here’s what not to do after a car accident.
Don’t Leave the Scene of the Accident
As an experienced personal injury lawyer, I advise you to stay put. No matter how you feel, remain at the scene of the accident, and always call 911. You will need to file an accident report with the police to show what happened. If possible, ask people at the scene for their contact info to document the crash.
Don’t Lose Your Temper
You need to play it cool after you’ve been involved in a car crash. While you may feel like lashing out at the driver who hit you, doing so will lessen your credibility. When things get tense, people can say and do things they do not mean — things they may have to defend later. Don’t let the situation get the best of you.
Don’t Admit Fault
After you have a car accident, tell the truth, but you do not have to admit fault — even if you think you may have contributed to the accident. You need to stay objective and just tell the police what happened. Don’t add any “editorial” comments, as they may only result from the upset surrounding the situation.
Don’t Speak to the Other Party’s Insurance Company
Before you do anything, contact me so we can discuss the situation. Remember, you are not obligated to talk to the other party’s insurer, especially if you can make a claim for serious personal injuries.
Proving Negligence in a Car Accident Lawsuit
To prove negligence, it’s important to prove that the other party acted carelessly and knew they were acting carelessly, ultimately causing your injury. Technically, we must establish four elements to prove negligence in a car accident lawsuit.
1. The defendant owed a legal duty to my client.
2. The defendant breached the legal standard of care [duty] that they owed to you.
3. The defendant’s inaction or action led to the claimant’s injuries.
4. The other party’s negligence directly led to my client’s injuries.
Never accept a settlement if you have obvious proof that the other party acted carelessly. And don’t try suing without retaining legal services! You have a limited amount of time to contact a personal injury lawyer and file a PI lawsuit, because of the specific state statute of limitation that might apply to your claim. After that time, you lose your opportunity to settle and receive compensation for your claim.
Don’t Wait to Get Checked Medically
If you don’t have quantifiable damages, you don’t have a personal injury claim. Once you file a police report, you need to get checked medically. Filing a police report and seeing a doctor gives you the required supporting evidence for a future PI claim. If the ambulance crew offers to transport you to the emergency room for evaluation, you should accept that offer. Even if you don’t choose to use ambulance transport from the scene of the collision, get checked the same day of the accident to ensure that you get treatment for an injury that may emerge several days after the crash. Many whiplash victims, for example, experience symptoms 24 hours or a couple of days after a car crash.
I feel bad when I meet someone who has sought treatment for a medical problem several weeks or even months after an accident or not at all. They may have some authentic complaints that go unnoticed. When you wait, it looks like your conditions could be unrelated to the accident. People who are injured in a car crash but wait for care are handing the at-fault insurance company arguments that can be used against them. This makes it harder to present proof that your symptoms tie directly to the car crash.
By getting checked medically right after an accident, you substantiate two purposes: you protect your health and support any future claim of negligence.
Many PI victims experience a rush of adrenaline moments after an accident. This means they don’t experience genuine symptoms or pain and instead believe they don’t need treatment at all. In fact, what it means is that you are not able to accurately assess the extent of your injuries immediately following a collision.
Conditions like whiplash, a concussion, soft tissue injuries, or internal damages can show up days to weeks after a crash. By seeing a doctor, he or she can identify symptoms that may trigger future health problems. Never assume that any resulting injury will get better without medical intervention.
How Medical Records Support PI Claims
When filing a PI claim, I can use your medical records to:
- Make the relatedness of your injuries to the car crash clear.
- Establish a baseline for your overall medical condition [for example, if your examining physician notes that you have no history of lumbar pain, that will help clearly relate your lumbar pain to the trauma of the car crash]
- Treatment codes document the manner of care as well as the treatment durations [for example, in the case of physical therapy or chiropractic follow up care]
- Identify the charges you incurred for treatment resulted from getting injured
- Share notes on your future treatment needs because of the accident
- Provide documentation for pain and suffering
Suing for Whiplash
Many PI claims I review and settle involve whiplash. Whiplash is an acceleration/deceleration injury [when your head snaps back and forth forcefully] and it’s common in rear-end collision accidents. The pain results from muscles and ligaments in the neck being extended past the normal range of motion. Whiplash is often accompanied by a concussion, which is also an acceleration/deceleration injury.
Common Whiplash Symptoms
Common whiplash symptoms include:
- Neck stiffness and pain
- Constant fatigue
- Blurred vision
- A recurrent headache at the skull’s base
Other Whiplash Complaints
To a lesser degree, you may have problems with:
- Chronic discomfort in the shoulder, neck or head
- Ringing in the ears
- Irritability or anxiousness
When You Need to See a Doctor for Extra Support
You need to follow up with a doctor if symptoms:
- Spread to the arms and shoulders
- Are accompanied by nausea with or without dizziness
- Lead to head pain
- Cause weakness or numbness in the arms
A healthcare provider should fully document all these symptoms.
Don’t File a Claim Without Contacting a Personal Injury Attorney in Kansas City
Once you make the decision to file a personal injury claim, you need someone in your corner. Doing so can mean the difference between a fair settlement or being taken advantage of by an insurance company. As an experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyer, I will make sure you get appropriate compensation for your injuries.