There’s no predicting when a car accident will occur. But one crash can forever change your life; and at the moment that it occurs, an accident can shake up your ability to think and respond clearly, potentially impacting your long-term financial future, as well as your physical and emotional well-being.

Whether or not you were recently injured in an automobile accident, there’s no better time to educate yourself than the present. With offices in Fayetteville, Durham, and Lumberton, NC, Cotton Law Firm represents automobile accident victims throughout North Carolina ‒ and we’re here to help you understand what to do after you’ve been injured in an automobile accident.

If you’d like to schedule a consultation with the personal injury attorneys of the Cotton Law Firm, complete this form today. We encourage automobile accident victims throughout North Carolina to get in touch with us as soon as possible.

Let’s begin!

Don’t Panic ‒ Call 9-1-1

First and foremost, never leave the scene of an accident, even in a minor fender bender situation. It is against the law to leave the scene of an accident in North Carolina. Doing so can also hurt your chances of receiving financial compensation in your injury claim.

Are you and your other passengers okay? After assessing yourself and your vehicle’s occupants, check on the other driver, their passengers, or any involved pedestrians. Determine if anyone needs an ambulance and immediate medical assistance and call 9-1-1. You should still call 9-1-1 to report the accident even if there are no injuries.

Should You Move Your Vehicle After an Accident?

There are some post-accident scenarios where it may be appropriate to move your vehicle to clear the way for traffic ‒ and there are other times where you should not move your vehicle whatsoever.

Don’t move your vehicle if you or someone else is severely injured, or if there is significant damage to the car(s). Moving the vehicle could potentially exacerbate someone’s injuries. Wait for the police and emergency personnel to arrive. That way, they’re able to act accordingly and investigate the cause and extent of the accident.

You can move your vehicle if the accident was minor and you’re blocking traffic. Slowly pull it to the side of the road and turn your hazard lights on.

Should You File a Police Report After a Car Accident?

In North Carolina, it is the law to report an accident that exceeds $1,000 in injuries, property damage, or death. But even if you can’t gauge the monetary extent of the injuries and/or damage, it’s recommended that you call the police and file an accident report right after it occurs or as soon as possible.

The sooner you file a police report after your car accident, the better. A police report can play a crucial role in proving who was at fault in the accident, improving your chances of recovering a higher compensation for your injuries.

Without a police report, it’s possible the other driver could change their story or deny their involvement. You don’t want to find yourself at odds in court trying to prove your innocence, especially if you’ve sustained an injury that has caused you to miss work and/or significant pain, suffering, and financial stress.

How to Act at the Scene of a Car Accident

As you wait for the police to arrive on the scene, there are a few things you should do.

First, keep your roadside interactions with the other driver and persons involved to a minimum. Don’t admit any fault or take responsibility for the accident.

Collect contact information from any witnesses. You want their full name and phone number should you file a personal injury claim and need their witness testimony in court.

As long as your injuries don’t prevent you from doing so, record as much detail about the accident as possible. Take photos of both vehicles from all sides. Photograph skid marks in the road, the position of the vehicles in relation to the street, and any other damaged property.

Inform Your Insurance Company

There is usually a 72-hour window period where any motorist involved in a car accident must notify their insurance company. Doing so will not only ensure your eligibility for coverage if you need it, but will also protect you if the other driver is underinsured.

When speaking to a representative, let them know if injuries and property damage occurred. You don’t need to disclose specific information about the extent of the accident and your injuries.

Don’t Wait to Seek Medical Treatment

You may feel okay and uninjured; but injuries, bruises, and whiplash often won’t produce symptoms for a couple of days after an accident.

Seek a medical evaluation immediately. You’ll want it on record showing that you were injured as the result of the accident, maximizing your compensation in a potential injury claim. Waiting a few days or a couple of weeks to see a doctor can become a contentious subject in court or with the insurance company, diminishing your chances of receiving a higher settlement.

Don’t try to tough out your injuries and don’t avoid seeing a doctor. In case the injuries worsen and you need to miss work or require future medical treatment, let the record show that you sought medical attention promptly after the accident.

Be Proactive. Don’t Suffer Alone After Your Automobile Accident.

We’ve explored the series of steps you should take to recover from a car accident and how to prepare for an automobile accident case. We’ve also discussed the ways our experienced team of personal injury attorneys can fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.

If you were recently injured in an automobile accident in North Carolina, the personal injury attorneys at the Cotton Law Firm are ready to represent and stand by you ‒ every step of the way.

Contact the Cotton Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation with one of our automobile accident attorneys. We look forward to speaking with you and helping you recover from your recent accident!