The First 72 Hours After an Accident
June 28, 2022
The first 72 hours after an accident may be the timeframe that determines how well you recover from your injuries. Also, the first 72 hours are critical to any personal injury claim you file if someone else’s negligence caused the accident and your injuries.
What steps you take after a car accident is vital. However, this window doesn’t just apply to auto accidents. In addition, it applies to slips and falls, heavy equipment accidents, injuries caused by defective products, and construction and oilfield accidents.
More than 40 years ago, The Law Office of Steve Brannan was founded to help victims of someone else’s negligence obtain just compensation. In that time, we have witnessed the difference that the first 72 hours can make in the lives of our clients and their families in Odessa, Big Spring, Midland, Andrews, Pecos, and throughout West Texas.
What Do I Do After an Accident?
In the first 72 hours after an accident, there are five key steps you should take:
Get to safety and seek medical attention. If you are involved in an accident on a roadway or other busy area, move yourself and your car, if able, to a safe location out of the path of other vehicles or people. Even if you don’t think you are injured or aren’t sure, seek medical attention. Some injuries aren’t obvious right away, either masked by adrenaline, not yet symptomatic or slow to develop. An emergency room physician will know what to look for, how to look for it, and what treatment to recommend. A delay in treatment could make recovery difficult or impossible. Moreover, it can provide the insurance company with a reason to deny your claim.
Call law enforcement. The easiest way to contact law enforcement is to dial 911 because the dispatcher will know what law enforcement and emergency responders to dispatch to the scene. In Texas, if someone is injured in an accident or property damage in excess of $1,000, you are required to report the accident immediately. Law enforcement, in turn, is required to complete and submit a crash or incident report. Among the information on the report will be names, contact, and insurance information of all those involved, witness statements, a summary of events, and the likely cause of the incident.
Gather all documentation that you can. Some information you document could differ from what law enforcement or emergency responders report. Moreover, you may talk to a witness and obtain their name and contact information, but they leave before law enforcement arrives. You will want to provide that information to them when they do. Of course, you will want to get the name, contact, and insurance information of the other driver or drivers in the event of an auto accident, of a business or homeowner in the event of a slip and fall, or another accident. You need to request copies of the calls, incident reports, and your medical records and bills. It is also smart to write down your recollection of events as soon as possible after the accident. All documents will be necessary if you pursue a personal injury claim or file a lawsuit against a negligent party.
Notify your insurance company and theirs. Most insurance companies state in their policies the timeframe for reporting accidents. Some may be within a day and others within 30. The adjuster will open a claim which will allow you to file for such policy benefits as medical payments or personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage if those apply. If someone else’s negligence caused the accident, you will need to notify their insurance company as well with your intent to file a third-party claim against their coverage.
Hire a personal injury attorney. You may think that hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is not a step you need to take in the first 72 hours after an accident, but it is for two key reasons. First, your lawyer knows what needs to be accomplished and how to take the lead in getting it done on your behalf. Second, if you believe someone else’s negligence caused your injuries, you will need to prove it. Your personal injury attorney knows how to investigate, gather and document evidence, and value your claim.
Legal Guidance You Can Trust
Those next steps after an accident are crucial ones, but you don’t have to take them on your own. At The Law Office of Steve Brannan, we have walked that path for hundreds of clients in and around Odessa, Texas. Making a call to our office during those first 72 hours will benefit you in many ways.
Let us give you the information you need to make critical decisions about your claim. Let us help you by doing most of the work of your claim so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
Call The Law Office of Steve Brannan now to schedule a free case consultation. We also serve clients in Big Spring, Midland, Andrews, Pecos, and throughout West Texas.