Any Lenexa resident or other resident in the Kansas City area who is involved in a serious Kansas auto accident is likely to be overcome with stress and anxiety. If a driver suffers serious injury in a car accident, the auto accident victim may be suffering from serious injuries that may make it difficult to focus on what needs to be done to preserve one’s legal rights and avoid jeopardizing one’s claim for compensation. While legal and insurance concerns may not seem important when dealing with serious injuries, a successful and prompt resolution of these issues may be necessary in the face of significant medical expenses, lost income and other financial challenges. There are certain steps that should be taken following a Kansas car accident to preserve a person’s right to financial compensation. We have provided an overview of the important things that you can do following an auto accident to preserve your rights to financial compensation.
- Make Sure Everyone Is Out of Danger: The first order of priority following a car accident is to make sure that everyone is out of the zone of danger. Following a serious car accident, a driver should call 911 if anyone is hurt or there is significant vehicle damage. A disabled vehicle or pedestrian in the roadway can mean people remain in danger even following the car crash. It is critical to put out flares or warning signals and try to get vehicles out of the roadway. If it can be done safely, anyone who might be in danger should be moved to safety.
- Gather Evidence or Preserve Witnesses: If the police are summoned to the scene of a car accident, the officer will investigate and may interview you. If you observed evidence that suggests negligence by the other driver, such as alcohol on the driver’s breath, speeding by the other driver or similar conduct, you should inform the investigating officer. If there were witnesses to the accident, it is a good idea to get contact information for the witnesses and inform the investigating officer. A car accident victim should also take pictures of vehicle damage, any evidence of injuries, the accident scene and surrounding area. Because most people are fairly shaken following an accident, it is also advisable to keep a journal to help you remember what happened.
- Seek Medical Treatment and Evaluation: If you are injured and paramedics are summoned to the scene, you should let them examine you. Many car accident victims refuse medical attention or do not follow-up with their doctor because they believe that they have not been seriously injured. This can be a decision with serious long-term repercussions. Sometimes very serious injuries including traumatic brain injuries, severe spinal or neck injuries and other serious injuries are not obvious immediately after an accident. Sometimes even fractures and broken bones can be masked because the shock of being involved in a traumatic car crash may make it difficult to fully appreciate one’s injuries. If you do not obtain a medical evaluation or follow through on treatment, the insurance company may argue that your injuries were not caused by the accident.
- Seek Legal Advice: Many people are pleasantly surprised when the other driver’s insurance adjuster calls. The adjuster may be friendly and even offer to cut you a settlement check. Frequently, an auto accident victim will discover that their medical costs, injuries and long-term consequence far exceed any such settlement offer. When an insurance company offers to settle a claim, they will typically ask that a general release be signed that may prohibit you from going back and seeking damages for subsequently discovered injuries. You should never settle an auto accident claim or even talk with the other driver’s insurance company until you have obtained legal advice from an experienced Kansas personal injury attorney.
Michael R. Lawless, Attorney at Law, has been representing car accident victims throughout Kansas for over 27 years. If you have suffered serious injury or the loss of a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or loss. A Kansas City accident attorney from our law firm can represent auto accident victims who suffer serious injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered injury in a Kansas or Missouri car accident, call us today at 1-800-734-3771 for your free no obligation initial consultation.