Question

What should I do after a car accident in Connecticut?

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Adele R. Jacobs - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Adele R. Jacobs

Located in Bridgeport, CTJacobs & Wallace, PLLC

Phone: 203-583-8595
Fax: 203-332-7709

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If you have been involved in a car accident, it is important to do a few things to both protect your well-being and your legal interests.  If you have medical bills, this will make sure that you maximize your chance to can get the financial coverage you need to pay these bills. First and foremost, you need to call the police and seek medical help, then report to your insurance company and finally speak with an attorney if necessary. As an experienced car accident lawyer, I can offer some more specific details below:

FOLLOW THESE IMPORTANT STEPS:

  • CALL 911.
  • DO NOT MOVE YOUR CAR UNLESS YOU ARE IN DANGER OR YOU ARE PUTTING OTHERS IN DANGER.
  • DO NOT GET OUT OF YOUR CAR UNLESS YOU ARE IN DANGER BECAUSE YOU COULD PUT YOURSELF AT GREATER RISK.
  • SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION.
  • IF POSSIBLE, TAKE PHOTOS WITH YOUR CELL PHONE AT THE SCENE OF THE CRASH.
  • WHEN POSSIBLE, TAKE THE INFORMATION FROM ANY WITNESSES TO THE CRASH.
  • ONCE YOU ARE PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY STABILIZED, CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY.
  • IF YOU ARE INJURED, CONTACT A LAWYER.

Call the police.

It is obviously very important to call the police if you are in a car accident. You need to stay at the scene of the accident until they arrive.  You should also try to keep the other party at the scene as well, but not at the expense of creating or escalating conflict. The police will need to file a report, and that will require information from both parties.

While you’re waiting, or whenever possible, take pictures on your phone of the damaged vehicles, including license plates. If the scene of the accident might be important, such as at an intersection, take pictures of the road showing traffic signs and lights.  If anyone who saw the accident stops to offer help, get their contact information, as they might be a good source of information for the police or the insurance company.

Get checked out by a doctor.

You should have the police or 911 call an ambulance to the scene if you know you are injured.  However, even if you think you are fine, you may be disoriented after an accident, and the adrenaline can hide injuries until hours or days later. When in doubt, seek medical attention.

If you require medical attention, you should continue with follow-up appointments and care as your doctor prescribes, until you reach what doctors call “maximum medical improvement.” Your care should be covered, either by medical payment coverage under your auto insurance policy or by your regular health insurance. If you do not have either of those insurance coverages, you may need your lawyer to help you to get your doctor to accept later payment, out of any proceeds from the lawsuit.

Report the accident to your insurance company.

Report an accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Your insurance company will read the report filed by the police, and they may take a recorded statement from you before they decide who is at fault. It is important to remember that this process can take a little time.  While this is going on, you should not give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company – at least until you speak with a lawyer.  You should be aware that many insurance companies will not pay your property damage until they have obtained a statement from you.

Talk to a lawyer.

If you feel that you’ve been injured, a lawyer may be able to help. Your lawyer would handle interactions with the other parties, with the insurance company, and can help guide you through the legal process, which can be complicated at times. 

If you have had an accident with a commercial vehicle/tractor trailer truck, it is especially important to speak with a lawyer right away. Commercial trucking companies have investigators who they will send out right away, so it is important to have to be as prepared as they are.

A Lawyer Can Help You Manage The Process

Car accidents are always stressful - even more so if you are facing serious injury and uncooperative insurance companies. In some cases, a lawyer is the right choice to help you pursue the compensation you deserve. They can help you with each step along the way. There are no upfront costs in hiring a personal injury attorney, as they take cases on contingency.  Personal injury attorneys do not get paid until they help recover a settlement or verdict on your behalf.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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