What to Do After a Car Accident With an Injury

AUTHOR: A.J. Bruning | November 8, 2023
What to Do After a Car Accident With an Injury

Your health and your financial recovery are priorities after a car accident causing injury.

Therefore, after an accident:

  • Seek immediate medical attention
  • Hire a proven car accident lawyer to fight for your financial recovery (and protect your rights)

If you take these two steps, you will place yourself in a position for physical, psychological, and financial recovery.

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What Qualifies as an Injury from a Car Accident?

Too many car accident victims fail to recognize injury symptoms after a car accident. They may dismiss a legitimate injury symptom as being “shaken up” and may, therefore, fail to get the treatment they need.

What to Do After a Car Accident With an Injury

This may be a catastrophic mistake because:

  • Many injuries, including whiplash, may not present symptoms until hours, days, weeks, or even months after the accident.
  • Toughing it out can have potentially fatal consequences when you are dealing with a serious injury.
  • If you wait to receive treatment and diagnosis for accident-related injuries, you may weaken your case for compensation.

When you think about injuries from a car accident, consider:

  • Physical injuries: Some common physical injuries from car accidents include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), spinal cord injuries, severe cuts and bruises, and internal injuries. If you have any symptoms of physical injury (even soreness that does not go away), you should seek medical attention and insist on a clear diagnosis for your symptoms.
  • Psychological injuries: The effects of car accidents are not merely physical. If you feel depressed or anxious or have recurring memories, bad dreams, sleep problems, lost quality of life, or any other psychological problems, you should seek appropriate treatment.
  • Emotional problems: If you feel emotionally distraught or distressed after the accident, you may seek counseling or other forms of treatment.

Car accident lawyers must evaluate their client’s injuries. They often seek the counsel of doctors and mental health professionals during this process. Whether or not you ultimately hire an attorney, you should seek medical care as soon as possible following a car accident.

Never Dismiss a Minor Injury

Some accident victims do not seek medical attention after their car accident.

Even if they have physical or psychological symptoms, one might not seek medical care because:

  • They fear the cost of medical care
  • They have been in car accidents before where they did not suffer serious injury
  • They are tough by nature
  • They generally dislike the experience of seeking medical care
  • They have other important obligations to tend to

While lawyers understand these lines of thinking, the logic is faulty.

Seek medical care after a car accident because:

  • You may have serious injuries: No priority is greater than your health. If you do not seek medical care after a car accident, you are placing your health at risk. Even if you do not recognize symptoms, you might have life-threatening injuries that require diagnosis and treatment.
  • You likely need compensation for your accident: You likely need some compensation for your car accident. When you seek immediate medical treatment, you begin building your case for compensation. If you ultimately need money for medical bills, your quick trip to a doctor will help prove that the accident caused your injuries.
  • You expose yourself to significant financial risk if you do not get medical treatment: Conversely, if you wait to see the doctor, you expose yourself to arguments against your case. For instance, an insurer may claim that—because you waited to get treatment—you allowed your accident-related injuries to worsen. The insurer may then argue that it is not solely responsible for the cost of your medical care (because you are partly responsible for allowing injuries to worsen).

Car accident attorneys have represented countless victims of auto accidents. Those lawyers will tell you, without fail, that it is best practice to seek medical attention immediately after a car accident.

Hiring a Lawyer Is Another Important Step to Take After a Car Accident

Seeking medical attention will primarily take care of your health. Hiring a lawyer protects your financial health (but also your physical health).

Many car accident victims hire attorneys because:

  • Time is short after an accident: You may not have time to deal with insurers, calculate the value of your damages, or handle the other duties associated with an insurance claim or lawsuit. Many car accident victims don’t. A reasonable response is to hire a lawyer who can dedicate all necessary time and resources to your case.
  • Lawyers know exactly what steps to take: An attorney will waste no time drafting and filing your car accident case. Because lawyers handle car accident cases frequently, they can proceed with your case more efficiently than you can. 
  • Your health can prevent you from leading a successful case: When you are busy with doctor appointments, injury symptoms, and other health-related demands, you should never even try to handle an insurance claim or lawsuit. When you hire a lawyer, you can focus completely on your recovery.
  • They do not know how to value a car accident: Determining the cost of a car accident is rarely easy, especially when the accident causes an injury. If you get the calculation wrong, you may suffer long-term financial harm. To avoid this possibility, many car accident victims allow a lawyer to calculate their damages and fight for a fair settlement.

In most cases, a car accident victim has several reasons for hiring a lawyer. Ultimately, though, you hire a lawyer because you believe they are best suited to secure the money you deserve.

What Happens If I Choose Not to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?

Car accident victims must be realistic about insurance claims and lawsuits. Your case will demand time, mental effort, fortitude, energy, and patience. Those who suffer injuries in car accidents often lack these things.

If you do not hire a car accident lawyer, you may risk:

  • Taking on too much responsibility and failing to present a strong case
  • Becoming overwhelmed by the demands of your case and becoming extremely stressed
  • Worsening physical and psychological injuries you suffered during the accident

The risks of jeopardizing your health and losing your case are the greatest problems when you handle your own case. While a lawyer cannot guarantee that they will secure the money you deserve, they have the time and resources that your case will demand.

What a Car Accident Lawyer Can Do for You

Car accident lawyers vary in their level of client service, and you should strive to find the most well-reviewed, experienced attorney possible. A qualified lawyer will handle every detail of your insurance claim or lawsuit, which generally includes:

Handling the Smallest of Details

When a car accident lawyer agrees to lead your case, they agree to handle every detail. From fact-checking paperwork to calling insurers regularly to move the process forward, your attorney will be the steward of your claim or lawsuit.

Dealing with Insurers

Dealing with insurance companies is a critical feature of a lawyer’s services.

Insurance companies do not always deal in good faith and may attempt to:

  • Deny your claim unjustly
  • Blame you for causing the car accident
  • Delay your claim
  • Present lowball settlement offers (and convince you to accept them)
  • Confuse you about the losses an insurance policy covers (or doesn’t cover)
  • Pay you as little as possible (and, possibly, pay you nothing at all)

Insurance companies typically have many resources on their side, including lawyers. Consider the value of having your own lawyer to deal with insurance companies.

Establishing Liability for Your Damages

Your lawyer will identify whose negligence caused your car accident. When someone fails to act reasonably and contributes to an accident, that person (or institution) must pay fairly for the harm they cause under the law.

Liable parties in a car accident case may include:

  • A motorist
  • A motorist’s employer
  • A motor vehicle or component manufacturer
  • A municipality
  • Any other party whose actions or failures contribute to an accident

Your attorney may find that multiple parties are responsible for your accident.

Recreating the Accident with Evidence

Your lawyer will secure all useful evidence related to the accident, which may include:

  • Video footage showing the collision
  • Eyewitness accounts of the accident
  • Eyewitness accounts of circumstances leading to the accident (like a bartender overserving an intoxicated patron who later causes a car accident)
  • A digital reconstruction of the accident based on witness accounts
  • Photographs of damaged vehicles

As much as possible, your lawyer will recreate exactly how the accident happened. This will help establish fault and lay the groundwork for your financial recovery.

Documenting Damages and Calculating a Settlement Value

An attorney will seek proof of your accident-related damages, which may include:

  • Past income statements (which may be relevant if you miss work and lose income after your accident)
  • Medical bills
  • Images of your injuries (including photographs, X-rays, MRIs, and any other relevant images)
  • Expert testimony about your pain and suffering
  • Your own accounts of pain and suffering
  • Invoices for temporary transportation, replacement of damaged items, vehicle repairs, and other accident-related expenses

Because each car accident victim suffers different damages, documentation varies from case to case. Your lawyer will secure as much evidence as possible of your accident-related damages.

Demanding a Fair Settlement

Attorneys shine brightest during settlement negotiations. This is where a lawyer can secure a financial recovery for a car accident victim.

Most car accident cases settle. If you have hired a proven lawyer, they will make a determined effort to secure a fair settlement for you. Ultimately, though, liable parties must agree to settle fairly.

Going to Trial, if Necessary

If liable parties are unwilling to settle for a fair value, your case may go to court. Your lawyer will speak with you about this possibility, especially if they have negotiated long and hard with no positive result.

If your case goes to trial, expect your lawyer to:

  • Negotiate one last time with liable parties
  • Oversee the pre-trial process (such as discovery)
  • Make opening arguments
  • Present evidence and witnesses
  • Cross-examine the defense’s witnesses
  • Make a comprehensive argument on your behalf
  • Implore the jury to award you the compensation you deserve

While a trial can lengthen the duration of your case, it may result in a large financial recovery for you.

One question will tie together your case: How have you suffered because of the car accident?

Your forms of suffering will be known as recoverable damages.

Your lawyer will value and seek compensation for each of these damages, which may include:

  • Pain and suffering: This may include physical pain, psychological distress, emotional anguish, scarring, disfigurement, anxiety, depression, and any other effects that diminish your quality of life. 
  • Professional harm: Lost income is often the most obvious professional damage. However, injuries from a car accident can also cause lost income, missed bonuses and promotions, lost benefits, and other types of professional harm.
  • Medical bills: Healthcare costs are common among car accident victims. Even if you do not directly face medical costs, you might face rising premiums and other consequences if you must cover the medical cost of your accident. Your attorney will strive to minimize your financial exposure for medical care.
  • Property costs: Property expenses may include the cost of temporary transportation, repairing or replacing property (including your vehicle), and paying for medical equipment.

Your accident warrants a detailed investigation. A car accident lawyer will identify the cost of your collision and who is responsible for that cost.

Your Law Firm Will Take the Financial Burden of Your Case Off Your Shoulders

A.J. Bruning, Car Accident Lawyer
A.J. Bruning, Car Accident Attorney

Most personal injury lawyers charge no upfront or out-of-pocket fee for their services. Consultations are also free, so there is no reason to wait before hiring an attorney.

Research lawyers in your area and call a qualified firm as soon as possible. The law gives you only a brief time to file your case, so do not wait any longer.

A.J. Bruning


I was born and raised to represent individuals who have been needlessly injured. I mean that literally. At a young age my father would tell me about the clients he was representing. I would meet them and take pride in their admiration of my father. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer and represent clients that needed my help.

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