Tips on what to do following a Car Crash
Car accidents are unfortunately very common in New Mexico. There are many different types of car accidents which may include but are not limited to rear-end car crashes, T-bone car crashes, rollover car crashes, multi-vehicle car accidents, and trucking accidents. Each type of accident presents its own unique set of circumstances and it is important to hire an attorney that has experience litigating the various types of car crashes. Although each type of accident is unique, the following are a few basic tips to follow no matter what type of car crash you were involved in:
- Following a car accident, assess yourself for any visible or noticeable injuries. It is important to note that not all injuries are readily noticeable following a car collision because the human body's natural stress responses can mask an injury and prevent you from noticing it just based on pain. Further, a concussion can affect your body's recognition of an injury.
- Once you have assessed your health if it is safe to do so, assess the scene. Ensure that you are safe from further injury and/or collisions. If you are still in danger and are able to move yourself or your vehicle away from danger, do so cautiously to prevent further damage and/or injury to yourself and others.
- Once you have secured yourself call emergency services.
- While on the phone with emergency services notify any other person involved in the collision that help is on the way and ask them if they need an ambulance.
- If possible exchange insurance information with all parties involved.
- If you are physically able, take pictures of the scene, the damage to your vehicle, the other vehicles, and ask if you can get a recorded statement from any witnesses on your phone.
- When emergency services arrive, you will provide your statement to the police and get treated by the first responders, if needed. Remember, your body's chemical responses may result in you not immediately feeling pain or noticing your injuries. If you decide not to be transported to the hospital by ambulance, you should likely still present to a hospital or medical facility that has medical imaging capabilities once you do start feeling pain so that your injuries can be fully assessed.
- Of note, if you do not remember the accident clearly, it is possible you have a concussion or traumatic brain injury. Even if you did not hit your head, the impact and forces from a collision can cause your brain to smash into the front and back of your skull. It is important that you request a concussion screening.
- Additionally, it can sometimes take a few days to diagnose a concussion so even if you sought emergency treatment at a hospital immediately following the collision, if you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of a concussion follow up and get reevaluated by a medical professional.
- Within the next few days following the car crash, you will need to report the accident to your own insurance company. You may want to contact an attorney, to support you in this initial reporting process.
Although some people choose to speak with their own insurance company following a car crash, it is important to contact an attorney before speaking to the at-fault driver's insurance company. Insurance companies want to value claims as low as possible and distribute liability away from their insured if possible. An experienced attorney can protect you and your claim to maximize its value as noted below.
Liability After a Car Accident
In every type of car collision, victims need to prove that the other driver is liable for the accident that caused their injuries. Some negligent driver actions include the following:
- Following another driver too closely, also called tailgating;
- Unsafe lane changes;
- Improper passing;
- Driver distracted, such as putting on makeup or using a cell phone;
- Driving without prescription eye glasses, when eye glasses are needed;
- Not properly maintaining ones vehicle so it causes dangerous conditions on the roadway;
- Running a red light or running a stop sign; and
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Recoverable Compensation After Being Injured in a Collision
What if you drove safely and reasonably, but a negligent driver still struck you? If you've suffered an injury in a motor vehicle collision that wasn't your fault or was brought about by the negligence or recklessness of others, you can pursue compensation.
Victims can pursue a settlement from the at-fault driver's insurance company. They can also pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit against the party or parties whose negligence caused their injuries. Under New Mexico law, personal injury victims are entitled to recover economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses;
- Lost income due to missed work because of your injuries;
- Pain and suffering, anxiety, depression, diminished quality of life;
- Mental anguish from the motor vehicle accident and resulting injuries; and
- Punitive damages in some cases
Contact a skilled car accident attorney that serves the entire State of New Mexico.
If you become injured in a car accident because of another person's negligence, it's essential that you discuss your case with a skilled attorney. The New Mexico personal injury attorneys at Gauthier and Maier Law know how to hold insurance companies and defendants accountable for the injuries they cause. We offer potential clients a free, no-obligation consultation. Call Gauthier & Maier Law at 505-226-0009 to discuss your case with an experienced attorney and learn whether you have a valid legal claim for compensation.