When driving, it’s impossible to be 100% safe. You might be the most cautious person in the world, heeding the speed limit and yielding the right-of-way and doing every other thing you can think of to stay accident-free — only to get rear-ended by a careless driver who simply isn’t paying attention or is driving too fast for conditions. This is how even cautious people can get injured in an accident.
Because of this possibility, it’s important to add to your safety by knowing what to do when driving in Reno if something like this should occur. If you are ever injured in an accident, do you know what to do next? It’s not an easy process, but there are definitely some things to know, including what to do immediately following the accident, finding legal and and medical help, and knowing what other resources are available to you, should you need them. Read on to find out more.
What To Do Immediately after a Car Accident
If you do find yourself in a car accident in Reno — whether you are the party to blame or not — there are a handful of things to keep in mind at that time.
– Make sure you stop.This isn’t just being neighborly — this is the law. Driving away from an accident immediately turns it into a “hit and run,” which is a serious offense and can lead to much more serious consequences. In fact, unless you are causing a serious disruption to traffic, it’s best to keep your vehicles right where they are until the police arrive.
– Assess injuries, and then call 911. You’re going to want to call 911 to inform them of the accident. However, before you do that, make sure you have assessed all parties’ injuries, including your own. If someone is seriously hurt then the right response teams need to be contacted. So, assess, then call. Let the voice on the other end of the line know what has happened and what the situation is at that time. He or she will know how to respond and send the right people.
– Be as honest as possible about your injuries. When the medical response team does show up, they will examine you and treat your injuries. At this time, people often make the mistake of shaking it off and saying that things aren’t that bad — neck pain, a sore joint, etc. The problem is that injuries don’t often present themselves as serious at first, only to worsen as time goes on. Because of that, trying to shrug it off as no big deal can have two very serious consequences. First, it stops you from getting the immediate care you need, and second, it can impact your legal case later if it appears that you are seeking more damages for an injury that you claimed wasn’t a big deal in the first place.
– Never admit fault. Even if you think you are to blame, don’t admit it. This is for the law and the legal counsels to decide. You don’t want to say something right now that could come back to make your life more difficult later on.
– Exchange information. This is important, but often people forget this step when dealing with the stress. Names, addresses, phone numbers and insurance information. The police will collect this, too, but you’re going to want to have a way to contact people directly, just in case.
– Take pictures. Again, the police will do this, too, but having your own documentation is never a bad thing. This can be especially helpful if you have been visibly injured.
– Contact your insurance company. Either there at the scene or as soon as you can afterwards, it’s important to let your insurance company know what happened as well. They will conduct their own investigation as well as review official records to determine what they need to do to help.
Injured? Here’s What To Do Next
Now that the immediate situation of the car accident has been dealt with, and your insurance company has been contacted, you’re going to need to think about your next steps. Your legal battles are just beginning, so you’ll need to find a good personal injury attorney. In addition to that, your injuries won’t just go away on their own, so you’ll have to locate a reliable doctor as well.
Finding an attorney in Reno can be a daunting process. There are hundreds of personal injury attorneys out there, all ready to jump on your case. So, how can you pick the right one? Here are some tips to help sort this all out.
– Act fast. When injured in an accident, time is not your friend. You need to start picking up the pieces of your life ASAP, and getting an attorney is the first step in that long road.
– Research. Because there are so many Reno attorneys out there, you owe it to yourself to sift through them. Find the ones that have a high reputation. Research things like court cases — do they win the cases they bring to court? What do former clients say about them? How long have they been practicing law? Questions like these are easy to find answers to, and so important when it comes to choosing the right fit.
– Conduct interviews. Once you’ve started to narrow the field, talk with them, either in person or on the phone. Get a feel for who they are and what sort of law firm they represent. This is where knowledge is important, but so is gut instinct. If something doesn’t feel right to you, listen to that feeling. There might not be anything wrong with the attorney, but you have to pick the one that you’re most comfortable with.
– Consider specialists. If you have been injured, chances are that you are suffering from a specific type of injury — spine, brain, etc. There are attorneys in Reno who make a practice of dealing with these specialized injuries, so it obviously makes sense to include those in your list of possibilities, as well.
– Get costs up front. Before making any decisions, know exactly what you will be expected to pay. Many lawyers only collect fees if they win, which helps you out, but don’t just assume they are all that way. Ask questions about what payments you will be expected to make, and when.
– Go with your gut. I mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: at the end of the day, choose the attorney that feels right for you.
When dealing with an injury, you’re also going to need to find a doctor in Reno to care for you. Keep these tips in mind:
– Consult with your primary care physician first. If you have a regular doctor this is the first place you should go. Your doctor can examine your injuries to see what’s going on. For just general sorts of injuries your doctor might be fine, but if you’ve had more serious trauma, then chances are this will be out of your primary doctor’s area of work. The good news, though, is that he or she will be able to recommend you to a specialist that they trust. This can save you a lot of time and headache!
– See a specialist. If your primary physician sends you to a specialist, then you’re already done with this step. If not, or if you don’t like where you are sent, then it’s time to start doing some more research. Remember that specialists are experts at not only treating injuries like the ones you’ve suffered, they are also good at helping to determine what injuries are actually the result of your accident. This can help in your legal fight later on, should it come to that.
– Follow your doctor’s advice. Don’t just go for an initial visit and then skip out on the rest. Do the treatments, go to follow-up visits: you don’t want to make your health worse by not heeding your doctor’s advice, and you certainly don’t want the legal headache that comes with that as well.
Finding Other Resources
After you’ve found both legal and medical help, and the accident is well on its way to being handled, you might think you’re out of the woods. However, don’t assume it’s all over yet. In addition to the financial and physical strain that can come from an accident, there’s also a mental strain that can develop in the form of PTSD. Simply put, it can be hard to overcome the fear and stress of being in an accident.
If you begin to think that this might be the case for you – just like all the other steps here, don’t wait! Seek help immediately. Finding the right person in reno to talk to can make a world of difference when it comes to being able to fully recover and get your life back on track.
To sum it up, an accident brings with it many steps you need to go through both at the scene as well as after. If you fail to get the legal, medical and mental help you need, you could find yourself facing a long uphill battle before you’re truly able to get on the road to recovery. Don’t wait for that to happen!