Auto accidents happen every day in Maryland and if you are one of the unlucky people who is injured on the road, there are several things you need to know. Having an idea how you will handle the situation when and if it occurs can help you avoid panicking in the moment.
You also need to remember that what you do in the minutes, hours, and days following your accident can affect the eventual outcome, including your ability to recover from your injuries and move forward with your life.
What are five of the most important things you need to know following a car accident in Maryland?
Record as Much as Possible Regarding Accident Events
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you might not be able to accomplish much at the accident scene and you might not even remember much of what happened. If you are able to, take photographs at the scene or contact someone who can do it for you. Law enforcement usually takes photos, but it can help to have a collection of your own.
Write any of the details you remember of the accident in a journal. Do this as soon as possible because waiting can cloud your memory and cause you to forget important details. You should also record details of your recovery in the journal because this helps you build a strong case.
Never Refuse Medical Care
Even if you believe your injuries are minor, it is important for a doctor to examine you after an accident. Sometimes there are no immediate symptoms related to a serious injury, so for the sake of your health you need a professional exam. It is also important from a legal standpoint to have a doctor’s record of how the accident affected your health and well-being. Dismissing a visit to the emergency room after an auto accident can damage your case. Also make sure you follow-up on any future appointments in the days, weeks, and months following the accident.
Contact Law Enforcement
Immediately following the accident, contact law enforcement if they are not already on the scene. Any time a serious accident occurs law enforcement will arrive with the paramedics and other first responders.
However, if you are involved in a fender bender and it possible for everyone involved to move their vehicles out of the flow of traffic and nobody needs immediate medical attention, you will likely need to request law enforcement’s assistance. Doing so ensures you have a neutral third party on the scene observing the details of the accident, speaking to everyone involved, and creating an accurate written record of what occurred.
There is no reason to be intimidated or avoid contacting law enforcement after an accident – they are there to assist with the process and ensure your rights are protected.
Contact Your Insurance Company
As soon as possible, contact your vehicle insurance provider so they can assess the damage and get things rolling concerning car repairs and other expenses.
Though it is necessary to contact your insurance provider, you should never contact or interact with the insurance company of anyone else involved in the accident. No matter how polite and generous they might seem, they are never on your side and discussions with them should be left to a professional.
Seek the Support and Guidance of an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney
Finally, the most important thing you can do after an accident is find an attorney to help you deal with all of legal issues you face. You want to work with someone who is professional and experienced, and understands accident laws in Maryland. It is important an accident attorney take on your case at no upfront cost to you and one who is willing to handle the endless paperwork and phone calls that take away from the time you need to spend recovering, including conversations with the insurance company.
In the hours and days following an auto accident, you are focused on recovering and trying to balance your regular routines around your recovery. Unfortunately, you have a limited amount of time to take legal action and if you put it off too long, you miss the window of opportunity to get assistance for your injuries and personal property damage.
To learn more about dealing with auto accidents in Maryland or to speak to someone about your accident, contact Shugarman & Mehring at 410.783.4200 or toll free at 888.342.7200.