If you have been in a car accident in or around Washington, D.C., the most important thing that you can do after you have addressed your immediate medical and safety needs is to get in contact with a car accident attorney who can take you on as a client and begin to build your case. Whether or not you think that you will be in a situation where you need an attorney, it is strongly recommended that you speak with one in order to understand your situation from their perspective. As you will learn below, the other driver’s insurance company does not want you to retain a lawyer because they’re likely to be forced to pay a larger settlement.
A personal injury lawsuit is intended to compensate victims for the financial damages that they suffer as a result of their injuries and for intangible impacts such as the stress and pain and suffering that they endure as a result of the accident. Medical costs in the United States can be absolutely crippling, and they come at the same time that you will be dealing with significant injuries that may likely limit your ability to return to work in your full capacity. This combination of factors can be devastating if you are left to deal with them on your own.
Read more about the specifics of car accidents and the following cases, and contact us now to be connected with a car accident attorney. The time to act is now so that you can focus on recovery without the additional stress of the unknown looming over your head.
What To Do After a Car Accident in Washington, D.C.
The following is a general overview of the steps to take after an accident. As each accident is unique, this is not intended to be a rigid checklist, but instead is meant to give you a general idea of how you can handle this stressful situation.
The most important thing for you to do after a car accident is to do a safety check for both you and your passengers to get an idea of what injuries were sustained, and how to avoid any further injuries if possible. If you are able to get your vehicle out of the road or get yourself to the side of the road to a median strip, breakdown lane, sidewalk, front yard, parking lot, or somewhere else that puts you out of traffic. Once the police and emergency responders arrive, they will be able to secure the area to ensure that there will be no additional crashes. If you are unable to move your vehicle, or there are injuries such as spine or neck injuries that require the victim to remain immobilized, do not attempt to move anyone.
After you have addressed any immediate safety concerns regarding the possibility of additional accidents, contact 911 and ensure that emergency responders are dispatched. When the police arrive, they will be able to secure the area and divert traffic to give the EMTs and fire department a safe area to work in and keep you out of the harm of any oncoming traffic. Trained professionals are your best hope for emergency care, so having them alerted and en route to the accident as soon as possible is of absolute importance.
If a passenger in your vehicle has serious injuries and you are able to contact 911 yourself, you will have the added benefit of being able to remain on the phone with someone who can walk you through the necessary steps. This can be exceptionally helpful as you are finding your judgment clouded because of adrenaline and fear.
Get Medical Attention
If you have been injured at all, make sure that you get medical attention at the scene. The EMTs will prioritize the injuries based on severity, but even if there are much worse injuries than your own, it is important that you are evaluated on-site, and that you will continue to focus on your care at all times moving forward.
If the EMTs think that you need emergency care and suggest taking an ambulance to a hospital, it is generally a good idea to accept this help. If you are stable and have other ways of getting to the hospital, and the professionals on the scene agree that you are able to use your own transportation, then you can consider this option as well. If you are able to leave the scene on your own and do not need emergency treatment, it is still very important that you see your primary care physician within the next few days in order to ensure that any injuries are recorded and that any preventative care is administered to avoid further complications.
Document Your Injuries
When you visit a doctor, your injuries will be documented in your medical records and will give you clear documentation that will be exceptionally helpful when you are attempting to recover damages from the insurance company. The sooner you establish your baseline after the accident, the more clearly you will be able to prove that the injuries did, in fact, result from the incident. Insurance companies will want to make certain that they are not compensating you for any injuries or issues that are unrelated to the situation that you are filing for, and will work hard to question any and all factors in order to save themselves money.
File a Claim
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to let them know that you were in an accident, and then you will need to contact the other driver’s insurance company in order to initiate your claim. If you are struggling with serious injuries, this process can be arduous and stressful, which will only further impact your recovery. It is generally at this step where a personal injury and car accident attorney in D.C. will begin to be a major help. They will be able to work directly with the other insurance company each step of the way, which has the double benefit of you being able to prioritize your recovery, and your attorney being able to document every interaction that they have with the insurance company right from the start.
D.C. Area Car Accident Statistics
If you live in the Washington D.C. area, you’re no stranger to traffic congestion in and around the beltway. Those high levels of congestion mean that there is an increased amount of traffic crashes and fatalities. In 2016, for instance, approximately 39,000 people were injured in traffic crashes and 245 were killed in greater D.C. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a car accident, contact a Washington D.C. car accident lawyer at Balkin & Mausner.
Why You Should Always Talk With a Personal Injury Attorney After an Accident
When you are beginning the claims process with a car insurance company after an accident, there is no way to know how it will go. One thing that you can be certain of is that an insurance company will do anything possible (within the law) to limit the payments that they make to you. If the other driver is at fault for your accident, the insurance adjuster that you are working with is going to explore every possible way to exclude certain costs to you so that they can offer you a low amount of money in a lump payment in the hopes of getting you to accept it and move on. In exchange for the payment of this claim, you will be required to waive your rights to any future legal actions, regardless of whether or not you experience any additional complications as a result of your injuries.
An attorney will be able to negotiate with the insurance company, and when you hire an experienced lawyer, you are sending a signal that you intend to get what you deserve for this situation. It is likely that the insurance company will offer a larger payment than they would if you were not represented by a professional, but even then, there will be a lot of room to increase the settlement amount. If your attorney is unable to reach an agreement that you both believe will adequately compensate you and protect you from future financial issues stemming from this crash, then you and your lawyer will decide if it is appropriate to move forward with a full lawsuit.
Contact Balkin & Mausner Today
The claims process is stressful and complicated, especially when you know that the insurance company is working hard to pay you as little as possible. Instead of just feeling like a number or statistic being shuffled through the insurance claims process, get connected with an aggressive personal injury attorney in D.C. so that you can get the help you deserve. The attorneys at Balkin & Mausner have a history of representing victims and giving them the help they deserve, and we will be happy to do the same for you. Contact us now for a free consultation.