A car accident is an incredibly complicated event. It takes just a few seconds but can lead to days, weeks, and even years to bounce back from the financial and physical impacts.
Making a full recovery depends on doing things correctly from the moment the dust settles. That goes not just for the necessary repairs or replacement of your car but also for your body and your financial situation. Most of us know the basics of what to do at an accident scene, but if you think that’s everything you need to do to come out with fair treatment, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
The reality is that you will need the help of experts and professionals all through the process of dealing with a car accident. This is true even if no one is hurt. Following the appropriate process will keep you on track to get the help you need for a return to normal.
Assuming you are physically able to do so, document everything you can at the scene. Take photographs of all vehicles, as well as the surrounding area in case outside factors, were involved, such as spills on the roadway or obstructions to vision. Note the time of day in case weather records may need to be reviewed later.
However, it’s not enough just to pop a few cell phone photos. The police will want to talk to you, and you may need medical treatment for yourself or your passengers. So don’t assume you can get everything you need.
At the first opportunity, get legal representation. Stick to a local attorney, because every state has different laws regarding car accidents. New York is a no-fault state, and because attorney Steve J Schwartzapfel practices there, he knows what the means in terms of which damages can be recovered from the responsible parties and which will be covered by the other driver’s own insurance.
In The Short Term
We grow up thinking that with an injury, what you see is what you get. After all, that scraped knee from the playground never turned into anything else, so we just get conditioned to thinking that’s how all injuries are.
But that is not the case. Injuries from car accidents can take days or even longer to truly reveal themselves, which means you must seek treatment right away. It may help you diagnose an injury that you haven’t even felt yet.
Put your financial plan into action. An injury doesn’t have to leave you with no income and no way to get by if you have prepared properly, so this is the time when your emergency measures should be taken.
There are basically three main things that you must resolve after an accident: The repair of your vehicle, the healing of your injuries, and the recovery of your finances. The car repairs will probably be fastest, with injuries and finances taking much longer.
See these things through. It can be easy to wish that you could just walk away from the whole unpleasant event at the earliest possible moment, but that’s a mistake. Keep an eye on your car and make sure that no damage was missed; it can cause big bills later or even jeopardize trade-ins. Stay current on appointments with doctors and therapists to give yourself the best possible recovery. And don’t give up on getting the full amount you are due from any litigation that may take place. Skip a low-ball settlement and pursue the case.
A car accident is a complex event. There are legal, medical, mechanical, and financial aspects involved, and you have to juggle the things needed to deal with every part. Fortunately, there are experts along the way who can help you. Make the most of them and you’ll make the best of your recovery.