In Tennessee, victims in car accidents and other personal injury cases have up to one year to file a suit against the responsible parties, and often it takes a significant part of that year to recover from injuries, meet with an attorney, prepare the case, and submit the papers to the court. Nonetheless, we have put together five important steps you can take after an accident to improve your odds of a recovery.
These five important steps after a car accident should be taken as quickly after an accident as possible:
Call the police after a car accident:
Calling the police to the scene of the accident is important for a variety of reasons. The police can secure the scene and ensure that injured individuals can be treated. The police will generally investigate an accident and issue tickets or citations if one or more driver has broken the law leading to the accident. A police officer who observes the accident scene can be an important impartial witness to establish how an accident occurred. Furthermore, if the police have not been called and there is no police report, insurers and other defendants are likely to question the severity of the accident or even whether an accident actually occurred. While a police report can be issued later, having police on the scene often strengthens your claims.
Seek medical attention after a car accident:
The majority of recovery in a car accident or other personal injury case is for medical bills and related pain and suffering. It is nearly impossible to establish a personal injury claim without seeing a doctor. If you are experiencing any new pain or discomfort following a car accident, you are encouraged to have a medical professional evaluate any possible injuries. While you do not have to be taken from the scene in an ambulance, you should do so if the paramedics recommend it. Otherwise, try to see a doctor within 24-48 hours of the accident. If you wait longer to seek medical attention, insurance companies and attorneys will start to question the severity of the injuries and whether or not they are related to the car accident.
Take pictures and/or video of the scene after a car accident:
While it is possible that the police or others will take pictures of the accident scene, it is best if you or someone on your behalf can take pictures of the scene. Even if you cannot get pictures of the scene while the cars are still present, it may be helpful to get pictures of the scene as it appeared at the time of the accident since construction or other conditions may change by the time you contact an attorney or your case goes to trial. Also take pictures of any injuries, as depictions of cuts, bruises, or other injuries will strengthen your claims.
Find witnesses after a car accident:
If you are able to do so, get the name and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident. Witnesses are not necessary for recovery, but anyone who can corroborate your version of events strengthens your case.
Record your experience after a car accident:
As quickly as possible after the accident, record everything you remember about the accident, including what happened just before and just after the wreck. If it is easier, record yourself talking about the accident. Encourage any witnesses to do the same. Recorded recollections made soon after the accident can help you remember what happened months later in depositions or trial.