Preparing for a Personal Injury Claim after a Car Accident that Causes Spinal Cord Injury
Car accidents can cause a range of injuries, but damage to the head, neck, and spine are among the most common. In fact, the Mayo Clinic reports that 40 percent of all spinal injuries each year result from auto collisions. The jarring motion of an impact can do minor to catastrophic damage, sometimes even without the injured individual realizing they’ve suffered spinal cord damage.
Safety is always your top priority when you get behind the wheel. You remain attentive, avoid distraction, and follow the rules of the road. You wear your seat belt to reduce your chances of suffering serious injuries if an accident does happen. You ensure your passengers are safe by making seat belt use mandatory in your vehicle. Even with all these precautions though, you may not be able to avoid an accident that results in injury.
If you are involved in a car accident, follow these safety and precautionary steps, which help you protect your interests, prevent further injury, and improve your chances of recovering. These essential steps also help you prepare for filing a car accident insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, if necessary.
Speak with the Police
All accidents, even minor collisions, should be reported to the police as soon as possible. Ideally, you should call 911 and wait at the scene for the police and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to arrive. If possible, the police will take your statement at the scene. If you can’t give a statement at the scene, follow up with the police as soon as you’re able.
Get Prompt Medical Attention
Seek prompt medical attention, even if you don’t suspect you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury. One may have occurred, and the sooner you get help, the more likely you are to recover well. Allow the EMTs that respond to the scene to transport you to the hospital emergency room for a thorough and timely evaluation of your overall condition.
Speak with Witnesses
Eyewitness statements may be part of the police report. Whether they are or are not, they should be part of your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit documentation. Witnesses include passengers, but also others in the area of the accident. These statements can help corroborate your account of events in an accident claim.
Take photographs of the accident scene and all the damages and injuries that result. Pictures may or may not be taken by police, and photos are compelling evidence in an insurance claim.
What to do if You’re Not Able to Follow these Steps
If you’re unconscious after an accident or it’s unsafe for you to move, a family member, friend, or other passenger can complete these steps for you. If you’re alone and can’t follow these steps, be sure to do them as soon after the accident as you’re able. Get help from friends, family, or an attorney if you need to, and be sure to keep detailed records of all your medical and other accident-related expenses and losses.
After the Crash: Gathering Evidence
Be sure to keep records of every medical bill, cost of therapy session, or work done to your car post-accident. These can be as major as surgery costs to as minor as a co-pay you were responsible for during therapy. Having evidence and receipts of what you’ve paid will make it much easier for you to file a claim with your insurance company. If you do not have records of the costs of your treatment, you may be unable to be compensated for the accident. With any luck, you can focus on what’s really important: recovery.
This article written by Personal Injury Law and not by an attorney, and the accuracy of the content is not warranted or guaranteed. If you wish to receive legal advice about a specific problem, you should contact a licensed attorney in your area.