The first thing to do after a car accident in Ohio is to seek medical attention, even if you do not believe your injuries are serious. Seeing a doctor as soon as possible can:
- Save your life
- Prevent your injuries from getting worse
- Detect more subtle injuries that do not present with symptoms right away
- Ensure that you receive prompt treatment
- Create a medical record documenting your injuries
What Medical Care Can Do for You
The most important thing that medical care does for you is improve your quality of life. You can heal with confidence, knowing that all your injuries have been diagnosed and you are getting the treatment you need to live the best life possible.
By seeking medical treatment, you create a medical record, which can be a key piece of evidence if you decide to sue the liable party. A medical record shows:
- The nature and extent of your injuries
- That you sought treatment right after the accident, thus potentially connecting your injuries to the accident
- What treatments your doctor deems necessary to ensure that you recover as fully as possible (including surgeries, medications, and so on)
- What treatments you have already received and how much they cost
- The names of the doctors and facilities you went to for treatment
Other Things to Do After an Accident
If you do not require immediate emergency treatment, be sure to:
- Pull to the side of the road while staying as close to the scene as possible
- Call the authorities and give them as accurate a statement as possible
- Take photos of the damage to your car and the scene in general
- Check if anyone else involved in the accident needs medical attention
- Get the other driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information
Each of these steps can establish important facts pertaining to who was involved in the accident, the environment in which the accident occurred, accident-related property damage and bodily injuries, and more.
What Not to Do After an Accident
The liable party’s insurance company may try to contact you after the accident to ask you for a statement or offer you a quick settlement. There are many reasons why you should not speak to them alone or accept any offers. These include:
- Protecting your rights: By accepting a settlement now, you may not be able to sue for further compensation in the future, even if you incur further expenses.
- Securing fair compensation: The insurer’s initial offer may not include everything you need to pay for medical care, repair bills, and so on. It is better to get a professional estimate of your case’s worth first.
- Not incriminating yourself: Even if you did nothing wrong, the insurer may claim you did, thus potentially impairing your ability to collect compensation under Ohio Revised Code Section 2315.33.
It boils down to this – the insurance company knows the law better than the average accident victim. They may use this knowledge to their advantage if they can, so it is a good idea to consult a law firm before you talk to anyone. A car accident attorney can explain your rights and help protect you from insurance companies.
What to Do After Getting Medical Care
Once your injuries have been treated and you have a better idea of how much they will cost, you can consider taking legal action. Law firms typically offer free consultations, so you can discuss your legal rights and options over the phone at no cost.
After choosing a law firm, they will assign a car accident attorney to your case who can:
- Listen to your story and determine if you are eligible to sue for damages
- Investigate the causes and effects of the collision, including who the liable party is
- Notify the liable party and their insurance company that you are suing
- Speak to the insurance company on your behalf and let you know if and when they offer a settlement
- Negotiate for an appropriate settlement if the insurer does not offer one on their own
- Take the liable party to court and argue for a jury award if necessary
- Keep you updated and help you make important decisions throughout the process
A Final Note on Medical Care
While it is best to get medical care before doing anything else, taking these steps “out of order” will not necessarily end your case. You do not have to give up on pursuing a case just because you are uncertain about what to do after a car accident. A law firm can sometimes help you find a doctor if you have not seen one.
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Attending to your physical health is always the first thing you should do after a car accident. Once you have sought appropriate medical treatment, call the Fitch Law Firm LLC at (614) 545-3930. We help clients throughout Ohio pursue the justice they deserve without charging any attorney’s fees until they receive compensation.
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