Car accidents happen. However, for most drivers, they will occur relatively infrequently. In fact, the average driver will have an accident around once every eighteen years. You may know that you need to take the right steps to maximize the compensation you deserve after a car accident, but not what those actions are or how to protect your rights. What should you do after a Boston car accident? Our Boston personal injruy accident lawyers discuss what your next steps should be below.
1. Contact the Boston Police Department to report the accident.
The Boston Police Department will respond as quickly as possible to evaluate the accident scene, write a report, and help establish evidence regarding who may have caused the accident. Always wait at the accident scene for the police to arrive unless:
- You do not feel safe at the accident scene for some reason, often because of another driver making threats against you.
- You need to seek immediate medical attention and cannot wait for medical help to arrive.
- You need to leave the scene of the accident to contact the police—something that rarely occurs in today’s modern age, when most people have cell phones in their vehicles with them.
If you do have to leave the accident scene, contact dispatch and let the police know that you plan to leave, why you plan to leave, and where you plan to go. For example, if you need to head to a hospital immediately, you may want to let the police know whether you plan to go to Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Medical Center, or Brigham and Women’s Hospital, depending on your location, specific needs, and medical preferences. Do not let the other driver talk you into failing to report any accident that involves serious property damage or serious injury potential. Failure to report an accident could make it much more difficult for you to seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries later, especially if the other driver tries to contest liability or even claims that the accident did not happen.
When the Boston Police Department Arrives at the Scene
Usually, whoever makes it to the accident scene first, whether a police officer, fireman from the Boston Fire Department, or EMT, will take over the scene and determine any medical needs. The first responder may also make an effort to secure the scene, including carefully directing traffic to decrease the risk of future injuries. The police will want to take your statement regarding what led to the accident. Officers may talk to both you and the other driver, ask for information from any passengers in the vehicle at the time of the accident, and check with witnesses. Further, officers will take a look at the vehicle and evaluate the likely cause of the accident. Do not accept liability for the accident in any form. Some people try to remain “polite” after the accident, including trying to brush off the other driver’s liability. That attempt at kindness, however, could make it more difficult to determine what actually led to the accident. Instead, offer an honest assessment of what contributed to the accident.
2. Collect evidence regarding the accident, if you can safely move around the scene.
Take a look around you before you get out of your vehicle. Never open your vehicle door into traffic since that could cause another collision. Never put yourself in danger in any way as you move around the accident scene. Pay attention to the movement of other vehicles around you and the extent of your injuries. For example, if you have severely broken bones, walking around the accident scene could worsen your injuries. If you can safely move around the accident scene, but collecting evidence could help you later establish liability related to the accident and make your Boston car accident claim proceed more smoothly.
- The other driver’s license information, including name, license number, and address
- The other driver’s plate number
- The other driver’s insurance information
- Damage to both vehicles
- Your injuries
Use your phone to snap pictures of that relevant information. Your phone will keep all that information in one place and make sure that you can access it easily from wherever you are.
3. Seek medical attention.
Boston offers a wide range of hospitals and urgent care facilities, including Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Medical Center, and more. Sometimes, you may want to prioritize choosing the closest medical care center. Other times, you may need to allow the ambulance service to choose the hospital based on which one has open availability or which one the ambulance service can take you to based on your current location. If you do not have to use an ambulance to get to the hospital, you can choose your hospital or care center yourself. Wherever you choose to go, however, seek medical care immediately after your accident. Many of the injuries often associated with car accidents do not always show symptoms immediately. The adrenaline from the accident can conceal the pain of broken bones, chest contusions, and sprains and strains. You may even think that symptoms of traumatic brain injury simply reflect natural confusion and panic immediately after the accident. A medical care provider can perform a full evaluation that can help identify your injuries, including injuries you may not have recognized yourself at the time of the accident. Once you identify all potential injuries, you can receive the treatment you need, which may ultimately increase the odds that you will make a full recovery. Seeking medical attention immediately after your Boston car accident also serves another vital purpose: it creates a trail of evidence that will help establish exactly when your injuries took place. After a serious car accident, you want assurance that the other driver’s insurance company will help cover some of the costs you may face as you pursue medical care. If you do not seek medical attention immediately, however, the other driver’s insurance company could claim that the driver it covers did not cause your injuries—and that could make it much more difficult for you to get the compensation you really deserve.
Tracking Your Medical Bills
Regardless of whether you seek care at Boston Medical Center or Massachusetts General Hospital, you can expect one common element to your medical care: you will likely face significant medical bills. Immense injuries, especially those that may require long-term medical care for years after your Boston car accident, could leave you facing substantial financial challenges. Keep track of all your medical expenses. As your medical bills come in, file them all together. When you move forward with a future personal injury claim, your medical bills will make up the vital foundation and basis of that claim. While your doctors can estimate how much it usually costs to treat a specific injury, or your lawyer can look up the average cost of certain medical treatments, your actual medical costs will include the specifics of your injuries. A single extra day in the hospital could cost you hundreds of dollars, and you want to make sure you include it as part of your car accident claim. By tracking your medical bills, including any related costs like prosthetics, therapy, or durable medical equipment, you can provide a full account of what your medical treatment actually cost you, which can make it easier for you to seek compensation for those costs.
Following the Instructions of Medical Care Providers
Recovering from serious injuries can prove incredibly frustrating. Not only do you have significant pain and the obvious limitations associated with your injuries to deal with, your medical provider may further limit you by requiring you to avoid certain activities after your accident. Your care provider may, for example, tell you that you cannot bear weight on an injured limb for up to eight weeks after the initial accident, or that you have to avoid activities that could result in trauma to your head following a traumatic brain injury. As you start to feel better, you may no longer see the reason for those restrictions, and you may try to push yourself harder to get back to normal faster. Unfortunately, those efforts can ultimately backfire, causing you to injure yourself further or increasing your recovery time. Your care provider may also recommend that you take specific actions to aid in your overall healing. For example, your care provider may suggest that physical or occupational therapy can help you regain normal function sooner following your accident. You, however, may not want to attend those appointments, or you may not want to follow up on assigned exercises at home. If you fail to follow your provider’s instructions, however, it could make it harder, overall, for you to recover from your injuries. Ultimately, you could end up with more limitations on your life because you failed to follow your provider’s instructions. Not only could failure to follow your care provider’s instructions interfere with your ability to fully recover from your injuries, it could make it more difficult for you to recover the compensation you want from the other driver’s insurance company. The insurance company may attempt to prove that you did not do your part to recover from your injuries and that, as such, you bear liability for any increased costs or challenges you may face due to those decisions.
4. Notify all necessary individuals about your Boston car accident.
You may need to notify plenty of individuals about your Boston car accident. You may need to Contact family members and let them know about your injuries and the limitations that go along with them. You may need to talk to your employer and make arrangements to stay out of work for a while, to alter your current work responsibilities, or to work from home until you have progressed further in your overall recovery. One party you should not contact yourself immediately, however, may surprise you: the auto insurance company—either yours or the other driver’s. As a Massachusetts driver, you likely carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage that can help you cover the cost of medical expenses associated with a car accident. Massachusetts mandates a minimum of $8,000 in coverage, minus the amount of your deductible, which can help give you a great start in managing medical expenses. However, before you talk to either insurance company, you should get in touch with an experienced Boston car accident attorney.
5. Connect with an experienced Boston car accident attorney.
A car accident attorney serves as a vital source of information about your rights following a car accident claim. Do you know how much assistance and coverage your PIP insurance will provide? When do you have the right to file for compensation through the other driver’s insurance? (Hint: in general, you have the right to file a personal injury claim when the cost of treatment for your injuries exceeds the protection of your PIP coverage.) How much assistance should you expect from the other driver’s insurance company? An experienced Boston car accident attorney can answer many of those questions and more. The answers may depend on the specific insurance company and the policy that covers the driver and your own PIP coverage. Do not try to handle your claim on your own or Contact either insurance company without talking to an attorney first. Many insurance companies will try to limit the compensation they have to offer for severe car accident injuries, including trying to convince you to accept a low settlement offer. An attorney, on the other hand, will fully understand your right to compensation and how to seek it. Do you need a Boston car accident attorney? Contact one as soon as possible to get the help and support you need after a Boston car accident.