If you have been injured in a serious car or truck accident (or if you have a family member who has been seriously injured in a collision), it is important to know what to do next. While you may be entitled to significant financial compensation, there are steps you will need to take in order to recover the compensation you and your family deserve.
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10 Key Steps to Take After a Serious Collision in Louisiana
What do you need to do to protect your (and your family’s) legal rights after a car or truck accident? Here is a checklist of 10 key steps to take after a serious collision in Louisiana:
1. Prioritize Your (or Your Family Member’s) Medical Care
After a serious car or truck accident, it is extremely important to prioritize your (or your family member’s) medical care. Seek treatment promptly, and start doing everything you can to get better (or to help your family member get better) as quickly as possible. Not only will this help reduce the risk of long-term complications, but it will also help significantly with your claim for financial compensation.
2. Write Down Everything You Know About the Accident
As soon as you are able to do so, you should write down everything you know about the accident. Take 10 or 15 minutes to sit down and record details such as:
- Where exactly did the accident happen?
- How were the road, traffic, and weather conditions?
- How many other vehicles were involved?
- Did any of the vehicles have branding or logos (i.e., on the side of an 18-wheeler or commercial van)? If so, do you remember what they were?
- What do you suspect caused the accident (if you have any idea—if you don’t, that’s completely fine)?
- Were there any witnesses?
- Did the police respond to the scene of the accident? If so, do you have a copy of the police report?
These are just examples. The more you can write down, the better.
3. Send Yourself Copies of Your (or Your Family Member’s) Photos from the Accident
To ensure that they don’t accidentally get deleted or lost, you should email yourself copies of any photos that you have (or that your family member has) from the accident. These photos could prove essential to your claim for financial compensation.
4. Report the Accident to the Police
Under Louisiana law, all serious car and truck accidents must be reported to the police as soon as possible. If you aren’t sure whether the accident has been reported, it is generally better to be safe than sorry. At this point, you should use your local police department’s non-emergency number—or, if you prefer, you can ask your lawyer to contact the police for you.
5. Report the Accident to Your Auto Insurance Company
In addition to reporting the accident to the police, you will also need to report the accident to your insurance company. This is true even if you believe that someone else was 100% at fault in the collision. Auto insurance policies generally require policyholders to report all accidents, and failure to report the accident could lead to denial or termination of coverage. Here, too, you can ask your lawyer for help if you have questions or concerns.
6. Start a File for Important Accident-Related Records
From the police report to documents from your insurance company, you may receive several important records related to the accident. To make sure you can find these records when you need them (and to make it easy to bring them with you to your initial consultation), you should start a file that you keep in a safe place.
7. Start Documenting the Accident’s Day-to-Day Effects
Along with collecting the records you receive, you should start creating your own documentation as well. Specifically, you should get in the habit of documenting the day-to-day effects of the accident. What are your (or your family member’s) daily pain levels? What activities and events are you (or your family member) forced to miss? How else does the accident negatively impact your (or your family member’s) daily life?
8. Learn About the Losses that Accident Victims and Their Families Can Recover in Louisiana
Documenting these impacts is important because accident victims and their families can recover just compensation for their financial and non-financial losses under Louisiana law. In fact, compensation for accident victims’ non-financial losses can significantly exceed the compensation they receive for their financial losses in many cases. To learn more, we encourage you to read: How Do You Prove the Costs of a Serious Car Accident in Louisiana?
9. Learn About the Process for Pursuing a Successful Claim
In addition to learning more about the losses you may be entitled to recover, it can also be helpful to learn more about the process of pursuing a successful claim. Knowing what to expect can help make the process less stressful. It can also help you avoid mistakes that can lead to unnecessary complications. For an introduction to what you will need to know as you move forward, you can read: How Do Truck Accident Claims Work in Louisiana?
10. Schedule a Free Consultation with a Local Lawyer
Finally, when dealing with the aftermath of a serious car or truck accident, it is important to rely on the advice and representation of an experienced local lawyer. An experienced lawyer will be able to explain everything you need to know, guide you through your next steps, and deal with the insurance companies on your behalf. Your lawyer can also help you make informed decisions about settlement; and, if the insurance companies refuse to make a fair settlement offer, your lawyer can fight to protect your (and your family’s) legal rights in court.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation About Your Car or Truck Accident Case
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car or truck accident in Louisiana, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free consultation. Call 318-413-6660 or send us a message online to schedule an appointment today.