What Steps Should I Take if I Have Been Injured in an Auto Accident in Maryland?
There are few things to get before you leave the scene of any accident. At a bare minimum you want to obtain the name, address, and phone number of the driver who hit you. In addition you need to obtain the name of the other driver's insurance company, their policy number and a description of their vehicle. If you have a cell phone you can take a photograph of the other person's driver's license, their insurance card and their vehicle license plate. You should also take clear photographs of the damages to all the vehicles involved in the accident. If possible, you should take photos of the positioning of the vehicles as they are immediately after the accident before they are moved.
As a best practice, and for safety purposes, you should always call for police assistance after an accident. Oftentimes they will not come. However, if an officer does come to the scene, they will be able to obtain the relevant information from all drivers and then print this out in a document from their cruiser and give it to each driver. This document is called an Information Exchange Sheet. Unfortunately, full police reports, which include the positioning of the vehicles and a determination of fault, are only done if the officers determine that a serious accident has occurred. This is determined only in instances where someone has been transported from the scene in an ambulance.
In the confusion after an accident many people are in shock and forget certain information. Google Maps is another useful tool to revisit the location of an accident and to help you clearly articulate what happened when the accident occurred.
HOW IMPORTANT IS SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOLLOWING AN AUTO ACCIDENT FOR MY PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM IN MARYLAND?
In order to obtain the best value for your case you should seek medical care as soon as possible after an accident. Ideally you should go to a hospital or urgent care facility within 48 hours. Most injuries from car accidents are considered soft tissue. Unlike fractures soft tissue injuries are not visible in diagnostic imaging. This does not mean your injuries are any less painful or debilitating. But to convince someone else that one is experiencing pain you will need to take actions consistent with being in pain such as seeking medical care, articulating your pain to your medical providers and keeping consistent medical appointments. Keep in mind that you must convince a skeptical third party your injuries are bona fide. In an insurance adjuster's perspective if you have suffered a real injury, you will seek medical treatment soon after an accident, if not immediately.
However, some people may not get immediate treatment for a variety of reasonable reasons. Some decline ambulance transportation because they are worried about the costs or because they are worried about leaving their car. Some are concerned about their other life duties to others, such as getting to work or picking up a child. In other instances, it may take time for their pain to manifest. In fact, most people experience an adrenaline rush after an accident that masks their pain. It is not uncommon for people to feel fine until they wake up the next morning or days later with excruciating pain or discomfort. So, while an insurance adjuster might expect to see immediate medical treatment, we understand that the body does not work on a schedule.
There are options when it comes to getting your initial medical care. In the past ten years private urgent care clinics have opened up an almost every neighborhood. These clinics provide quick and convenient medical treatment close to one's home or place of employment. The downside is that that these clinics expect upfront payment and they may not take insurance. Additionally, some clinics are not equipped to conduct certain diagnostic imaging.
A hospital or emergency room will typically have a longer waiting period. However, hospitals usually will not expect upfront payment when they are aware that a patient is treating for injuries suffered in a car accident. Another benefit to hospital emergency rooms is that they are prohibited from turning someone away due to lack of payment, even if someone does not have health insurance.
I personally do not have a preference for whether a client gets their initial treatment from an urgent care clinic versus a hospital emergency room. The most important thing to get your initial treatment within a reasonable period of time. That being said, in the most serious cases someone will be transported to a hospital by emergency medical personnel.
For more information on Auto Accident Claims In Maryland, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (443) 499-2919 today.