Car accidents are sudden, shocking experiences for anyone unfortunate enough to be involved in one – especially innocent passengers. If you were injured as a passenger in a Denver car accident, you may be wondering what to do. Below, The Sawaya Law Firm discusses the factors passengers should consider and the steps passengers should take following a Colorado car crash.
Get Medical Attention Right Away
Any time you sustain injuries as a passenger in a car accident, your priority should be your health and physical well-being. If your injuries are particularly severe or life-threatening, you should seek emergency medical treatment immediately. Have someone else contact emergency services for you if you are unable.
Even if you feel fine or your injuries don’t seem too serious, it’s a good idea to get a full medical exam anyway. You could have an “invisible injury,” such as a concussion or whiplash, which should receive prompt treatment. Serious injuries such as internal bleeding and traumatic brain injuries also may not be immediately apparent but could become life-threatening without treatment.
Know Who to Talk to – and Who Not to Talk to
Under Colorado state law, passengers involved in a car crash are required to exchange certain information with other parties involved in the accident, including other drivers, passengers, or non-vehicle occupants. You will likely also be required to provide information to any police officers summoned to the scene of the accident.
On the other hand, anything you say to other drivers, their insurance providers, or their lawyers could later be used to minimize your claim and deny you compensation. It’s often in your best interest to say nothing to these parties at all. A car accident attorney can speak with other parties on your behalf to ensure you avoid harmful statements while seeking the financial recovery you need.
Find Out Who Was at Fault for the Accident and What Happened
If you were a passenger in a vehicle whose driver was partially or totally responsible for a Denver car accident, you may be worried about your options for filing an insurance claim. Whether your accident was a single-vehicle crash or involved one or more other cars, the good news is that you’ll still be able to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance to recover compensation – even if the driver of the car you were in was at fault.
The same is true for situations involving an at-fault driver in another car, or even accidents that are caused by the negligence of several motorists. In these cases, passengers can bring insurance claims against one or more other at-fault drivers involved in the crash.
Collect Evidence from the Scene, Talk to Witnesses
To the extent that you can, you’ll want to collect your own evidence from the scene when you’re involved in a car accident. Write down everything you can remember about the crash and the moments leading up to it.
Speak to any eyewitnesses you notice and request their contact details. Take photographs of the accident scene and any injuries sustained by occupants of your vehicle. This kind of information can be valuable later on if disputes arise about the nature of the crash and the extent of your injuries.
Determine What Kinds of Damages You Can Claim
Serious car accidents often leave passengers with significant injuries, property damage, and other losses that create overwhelming financial hardship. With the help of a skilled attorney, you can recover certain damages in a car accident claim to ease this burden.
Some of the damages you can claim include reimbursement for specific, measurable economic losses such as medical expenses, repair costs, and lost wages. However, you may also be able to recover non-economic damages for more subjective losses like pain, suffering, or loss in quality of life. While harder to put a number on, these losses are just as real and just as compensable.
Keep Track of All Related Bills and Statements
To recover the economic damages listed above, you’ll need proof of all the expenses you incurred as a result of your accident. This means that you’ll want to keep track of all related bills and other evidence of your financial losses.
It’s a good idea to keep a physical or digital file of all of your accident-related expenses, including medical bills, hospital or ambulance invoices, receipts for property damage repairs, and pay stubs or bank records as proof of missed time at work.
You may also be able to recover compensation for associated costs, such as transportation to and from medical appointments, home modification and accessibility expenses, and costs of home caregiving or rehabilitation. Be sure to save invoices from these as well.
Follow Through with Medical Treatment
If you sustained injuries that required medical attention, chances are your doctor recommended some specific treatment courses or prescriptions to help you heal. It’s important to follow through with these treatments, even if you feel they are unnecessary, for two main reasons.
The first involves your physical well-being. The better you take care of yourself now, the less chance you have of developing additional injuries or chronic conditions later on.
The second involves your ability to recover compensation in insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits. If insurance adjusters or defense attorneys can prove that you didn’t follow prescribed treatment plans, they may be able to demonstrate that you aren’t taking your injuries very seriously and do not deserve to be compensated as a result.
Keep Notes About How Your Injuries Affect Your Life
No matter how diligent you are about seeking medical attention and following your treatment plans, there are some things that just won’t be evident from your medical records alone. This can include the extent to which your injuries cause you subjective pain, prevent you from doing the things you enjoy, and reduce your overall quality of life.
Our personal injury attorneys recommend that all clients keep a “pain journal” to help them record the intangible effects of their accident-related injuries. In this pain journal, you should keep track of your daily levels of physical pain, your mental and emotional well-being, and any limitations you experience as a result of your injuries.
Maximize Your Chances of a Successful Claim with Legal Help
The best way to maximize your chance of a full and fair recovery through a successful passenger accident claim is to seek legal help from an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer. The compassionate attorneys at The Sawaya Law Firm have helped thousands of injured car accident victims like you throughout northeastern Colorado recover millions of dollars in rightful compensation in insurance settlements and trial verdicts.
We will stop at nothing to support your claim and help you get your life back on track. We’re happy to offer free initial consultations. Call us now or contact us online to get started with your confidential case review.