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What to Do After a Car Accident in Barnstable, MA

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Especially in the summer months with thousands of out-of-town drivers on the road, car accidents can happen at any moment in Barnstable, MA. You may have been on your way to Hyannis, the Cape Cod Mall, commuting on Route 28, or on your way back from the beach. It only takes one moment of negligence by another driver to change your life forever – and the actions you take in the aftermath will have a profound impact on your future. 

The most important thing you can do – besides getting medical attention – is to contact a Barnstable car accident lawyer. However, you can and should take some other steps to protect your legal rights and put your lawyer in the best position to win your case. 

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Call 911 and remain at the scene until the police arrive

Unless you need emergency medical attention, you can’t leave the scene of an accident-causing injury in Massachusetts. Get to a safe location at the scene and call 911. The Massachusetts State Police or the Barnstable Police will secure the scene and get medical attention for anyone who needs it. They will also prepare your Massachusetts accident report – a key piece of evidence. 

Exchange information with the other driver and start gathering evidence

By law, you need to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver involved in the accident. You should also get names and contact information for any witnesses who saw the crash, as well as the name and badge number of the investigating police officer. What you shouldn’t do is discuss the accident or say anything pertaining to fault. Keep any comments at the scene brief, sticking to the basic facts of what happened. Don’t apologize or downplay your injuries. Innocuous statements like “I’m sorry” or “I’m okay” can be seized upon by insurance companies to blame you for the accident or reduce your claim. 

What you should do is start gathering evidence. Use your phone or camera to take pictures and video of the scene, the vehicles, the road conditions, skid marks, property damage, and any visible injuries. Take note if there are any security cameras. As soon as possible, write down your recollection of what happened and what the other driver said afterward. Bring all this evidence to your free consultation with a lawyer. 

Get prompt medical attention, no matter what

You may feel okay, and you may have been checked out by paramedics or EMTs after the scene. But you still can’t be sure you are in the clear. Car accidents often cause delayed or hidden injuries like concussions and internal injuries. Plus, while your fight-or-flight response is engaged, you may not notice pain or other symptoms. The only way to protect your health – and your rights – is to get medical attention. 

So, see a doctor as soon as possible, ideally on the day of the accident. Go to the emergency department at Cape Cod Hospital or a local urgent care clinic like Cape Cod Healthcare Urgent Care. If your primary care provider offers walk-in hours or same-day appointments, that’s a good option as well. Either way, tell the doctor about all your symptoms, head to toe. Don’t exaggerate, but don’t leave anything out. Your doctor needs this information to both diagnose and document your injuries. 

It's also critical that you follow your doctor’s instructions. If you are prescribed medication, take it as prescribed. If you are referred to a specialist or sent to get diagnostic tests like X-rays, go to those appointments. If you’re instructed to rest, then take it easy. And make sure you save copies of all medical records, including visit summaries, doctor’s orders, prescriptions, and bills. 

Tell your insurance company, but be careful

Most car insurance policies require you to notify your insurance company soon after you’re involved in an accident. Still, you have to be careful. Don’t give the company anything they can use to devalue or deny your claim. Stick to the facts and answer their questions as succinctly as possible. You don’t have to describe your injuries in detail either. “I’m getting medical treatment” is plenty. 

If an insurance company asks you to give a recorded statement, politely decline. If they ask you to sign a release or they send you a settlement offer, review it with your lawyer before you sign. Remember, once you accept a settlement, that’s it. Your case is closed and generally can’t be reopened. 

The sooner you hire a lawyer, the sooner they can start dealing with the insurance company on your behalf – this even includes the initial notification to your insurance company if you get a lawyer right away. 

Talk to an experienced Barnstable car accident attorney

The sooner you discuss your situation with a lawyer, the better. A lawyer can listen to your story and advise you of your legal rights and options. Your lawyer can take over investigating your accident and dealing with the insurance companies on your behalf while you focus on healing. Remember, there’s no cost and no obligation in a free consultation, just answers about your rights. 

It's never too soon to call a car accident lawyer, but it can be too late. You want to get legal advice before important deadlines expire and evidence disappears. If you’ve been hurt in a car crash in Barnstable, speak with one of our verified attorneys today. 

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