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What to Do After a Car Accident in Holyoke, MA

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Make the right choices to protect your legal options 

It happened in a flash: one moment, you were driving in Holyoke on High Street or on your way to the Holyoke Mall, and in the next, a distracted, drunk, or otherwise negligent driver hit you. You’re injured, in pain, and wondering what to do next. The crash may have been over in moments, but the consequences – and the choices you make – can affect you for the rest of your life. 

The two most important things you can do are get medical attention and call an attorney. You need a lawyer on your side to navigate the process, deal with the insurance company, and put you in the best position to recover. 

Call the police and remain at the scene 

Unless you have to get emergency medical attention, it’s a crime to leave the scene of a serious accident in Massachusetts. Get to a safe location at the crash scene, then call 911. The Holyoke Police or the Massachusetts State Police will arrive to secure the area and start their investigation. The investigating officer’s official accident report will become a key piece of evidence in your case. 

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Start gathering evidence before it disappears

While the laws of Massachusetts give you three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit, the laws of nature are not so generous. Physical evidence from the crash scene can be washed away by weather. Likewise, witnesses may forget what they saw, and security camera footage may be overwritten or deleted. 

That’s why you have to act fast to gather and preserve evidence at the scene of your accident. Take as many pictures as you can – vehicle positions, skid marks, road conditions, property damage, and any visible injuries. Get names and contact information for any witnesses. If there are businesses nearby with security cameras, ask them to preserve the footage. This evidence will be a key part of your case for compensation. 

Exchange information with the other driver(s) involved

By law, you have to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. If the vehicle that hit you happens to be a commercial or municipal vehicle, get the name and contact information of their employer as well. 

However, when talking to anyone at the scene – the other driver, witnesses, and even the investigating officer – you need to keep your comments brief. Stick to the basic facts of what happened. Don’t say anything to downplay the accident or your injuries, like “it’s okay” or “I’m fine.” You don’t know yet whether you’re really fine since you haven’t been checked out by a doctor. 

Speaking of which: 

Get medical attention right away

Even if you feel okay, you may have a hidden injury masked by the adrenaline of the crash. Car accidents often cause injuries that may not become obvious for hours or days, like concussions and whiplash. You could even have life-threatening internal bleeding. Get checked out by an EMT at the scene, and then see a doctor as soon as possible, ideally on the day of the crash. 

You can go to Holyoke Medical Center, Holyoke Health Center, Mercy, or Baystate. You can also go to a local urgent care center or clinic, or you can see your primary care provider if they have walk-in hours or same-day appointments available. The important thing is that you see a doctor and tell them about every symptom, from head to toe. Don’t leave anything out. Your doctor needs this information to diagnose you effectively and to thoroughly document your injuries. 

Make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions. Take your medications, go to any diagnostic tests like X-Rays and MRIs, and see a specialist if you’re referred to one. If anything changes or gets worse, call your doctor right away. And, critically, you need to save copies of all your medical records – visit summaries, test results, doctor’s orders, prescriptions, and bills – to bring to your free consultation with a lawyer. 

Notify your insurance company, but be careful

Most car insurance policies require you to notify your insurance company promptly after an accident. However, you need to be cautious, because even your own insurance company has an interest in reducing or denying your claim. Stick to the facts of what happened and don’t say anything about fault. Don’t describe your injuries in detail. “I’m seeing a doctor” is plenty. 

You don’t have to talk to the other driver’s insurance company at all. You also don’t have to give a formal statement, sign a release, or accept the first settlement they offer you. Talk to an experienced attorney before you sign anything from an insurance company. Remember, once you accept their money, that’s it. Your case is closed. Get legal advice first. 

Contact a Holyoke car accident lawyer

The sooner you get a lawyer on your side, the better. If you’re hesitant to get an attorney involved, remember that there are already attorneys involved – on the insurance company’s side. They have legal representation protecting their interests. You need to do the same to start building your case and keep your options open. 

Don’t go it alone after a car accident in Holyoke. A lawyer can deal with the insurance company on your behalf while you heal. If you’ve been hurt, contact one of our verified law firms today. 

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