If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it could change your life. Not only is Your health and medical condition at stake, but property damage or injuries to other people can take a toll on your finances. This adds stress and makes any injury feel worse.
The first question most parents ask after their child was in a car accident is “Are you all right?” Or they may say, “Was anyone hurt?”
The first concern after a car accident is always about injury.
So what steps should you take if you have personal injuries from a car accident in Massachusetts?
1. Stay calm at the scene, and seek immediate medical assistance
The immediate reaction of most people after an accident is shock – an unexpected physical and emotional reaction to an upsetting event. This is a time you should be most cautious and not make matters worse – by trying to get out of your car on a busy highway, for example.
If your injury is not too serious, you should seek first aid. A witness to the accident may offer to help you. Be open to accepting help for your injury. If you are able, you should offer first aid for anyone else injured.
For tips on how to handle first aid emergencies, you can consult the Massachusetts Driver’s Handbook.
2. Call 911
You or someone else (other driver or witness, etc.) should call 911. You may need an ambulance. There might also be a need for police to move vehicles off to the side of the road to prevent further injury from oncoming traffic.
When the police arrive, they will ask questions of you and any other driver(s) as well as witnesses in order to file a police report and get any further medical assistance. You should answer their questions as well as you can but not make any admissions of guilt or responsibility.
You should not make any statements to other drivers or witnesses, either.
Because of your injury from a car accident in Massachusetts, you will also be required to file a Motor Vehicle Crash Operator Report within five days of the accident, regardless of whether police were at the scene.
3. Collect information
Exchanging contact information with the other driver is required by state law. But beyond that, try to make a note of things like tire marks, stop signs, comments of witnesses, how you feel, any damage to vehicles or property, time of day, etc.
Photos are excellent sources of evidence. Take as many as you can with your cell phone – of all injuries and damage as well as local conditions. If you need assistance, call a family member or friend who may be able to come to the scene and make notes and take photos for you.
4. See your doctor
As soon as you can, see your doctor. Significant and long-lasting injuries and complications may not show up until days, weeks, or months after an accident.
You may feel OK at the scene but that does not rule out future pain as a result of the accident. Seeing your doctor will not only ensure a comprehensive follow-up but will strengthen any possible further claim of personal injury stemming from the accident.
Seeing your own physician may be just the beginning of the care you need. You may also need to be in the hospital for some time, see different specialists like a physical therapist or occupational therapist, chiropractor, home nurse or another practitioner. Any injury-related treatment can be part of a personal injury claim.
Keep records of all injury-related medical expenses you have.
5. Contact an attorney
If you are injured, you may not be thinking about the information you might need or how to get satisfaction for any damage you might sustain. Contacting an accident and injury law attorney will help with getting that information and preparing a personal injury case that will get you the compensation you deserve.
The injuries you suffer in a car accident in Massachusetts cannot be undone. But you deserve to be compensated by anyone who is at fault for those injuries.