What Should You Do Immediately After a Car Accident?

What you should do immediately after a car accident depends on your physical condition. If you were severely injured—for example, if you broke a bone or have a wound that will not stop bleeding—call an ambulance immediately. If you are unhurt or mostly unhurt, stay on the scene and wait for the police to arrive.

The Aftermath

As mentioned above, do not leave the scene of a car accident unless you need emergency medical treatment. According to Maryland Transportation Code §20-104, this is one of several duties and responsibilities that drivers involved in an accident must fulfill. First, if you are in the roadway, move to the side while remaining as close to the accident scene as possible. Then, exchange contact information with the other driver. If you fail to follow these rules, you may be caught and convicted of a hit and run. According to Maryland Transportation Code §27-113, penalties for this offense include prison time, fines, or both. Once the police arrive, they will likely want to take a statement from you about what you saw and how the accident happened. It is important that you cooperate as much as possible. Among other things, a police report can serve as evidence in your favor if you decide to file a lawsuit. Another potential piece of evidence is your medical record. This documentation is why you should see a doctor after your accident, even if you did not need emergency treatment or think your injuries were that serious. It is imperative to establish that your injuries, whatever they are, were caused by the accident.

When to Start Legal Proceedings

According to Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings §5–101, you have three years from the date of the accident to take legal action against the party or parties who caused your accident. Therefore, it is a good idea to start your lawsuit as soon as you have stabilized your injuries and can think clearly.

For Personal Injury

If you suffered any sort of bodily injury in the accident in Edgewood, you can file a personal injury lawsuit and seek damages such as:
  • Disability: For those who experienced a loss or reduction of functionality
  • Reduced quality of life: For those who can no longer live an independent, pain-free life
  • Medical expenses: For those who sought medical treatment for their injuries

For Wrongful Death

If your loved one passed away due to their accident injuries, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek the following damages. There is some overlap between the damages available in wrongful death and personal injury cases. Be sure to review both sections for damages that may pertain to your accident.
  • Pain and suffering: For those whose loved one suffered physically or emotionally due to their injuries
  • Loss of companionship: For those who have been prematurely deprived of their loved one’s presence and affection
  • Loss of financial support: For those who depended on their deceased loved one’s income

Seeking Legal Representation

Your car accident has probably left you feeling agitated, confused, upset, or even angry. Rather than add to your stress by trying to manage a lawsuit by yourself, put your lawsuit in the hands of an attorney. A lawyer can take charge by:
  • Identifying damages and liable parties: Your lawyer will investigate your accident to uncover evidence regarding who you can sue and for how much.
  • Submitting forms: With a lawyer on your side, you do not have to concern yourself with filling out paperwork or figuring out submission deadlines.
  • Communicating with the liable party: A lawyer can deliver all messages between you and the liable party.
  • Pursuing compensation: Let your lawyer meet with the liable party’s insurance company on your behalf. They can agree on a settlement or, if necessary, represent you at a court trial.
  • Serving as an advisor: Any time you have a question or are unsure of what steps to take, call your lawyer. A big part of their job is to help you understand your legal rights and make legal decisions.
Immediately after a car accident, you should prioritize your safety and health. Once you are out of immediate danger, you can start to weigh your legal options. The Law Offices of Adam M. Smallow can fight with you for compensatory damages that your injuries entitle you to. Give us a call at (410) 777-8960 when you are ready to begin.