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What to Do After a Car Accident in Chicopee, MA

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Stay calm and take action to protect your legal rights and options

Whether the crash happened on the Elms College campus, on your way home from Chicopee Memorial State Park, or a major highway like I-90, it’s absolutely normal to be confused and reeling from the impact of the accident. However, the choices you make will affect your future. After a car accident in Chicopee, MA, you need to take prompt action to protect your legal rights. The sooner you get legal representation, the better off you are.

We can’t stress this enough: the most important thing you can do, besides getting medical attention, is to contact an experienced Chicopee car accident lawyer. Your attorney will guide you in the process and deal with your legal case while you focus on recovering from your injuries.

Stay at the scene and call 911 right away

The first thing you need to do after a car accident is get to a safe location at the scene. The second thing is to call 911. You need the Chicopee Police or the Massachusetts State Police to secure the scene and get medical attention for anyone who needs it. The police will also prepare an official accident report, which is a key piece of evidence in your case. Be sure to get the investigating officer’s name and badge number.

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Start gathering evidence before it disappears

Remember, some of the most important evidence in your car accident claim can disappear shortly after the crash. Take pictures of the vehicles, the road conditions, property damage, street signs, and any visible injuries. Get names and contact information for any witnesses. Take note if there are any security cameras nearby. Save all this evidence, along with your observations and recollections of what happened, to share with your lawyer in a free consultation.

Exchange contact and insurance information, but be careful

By law, you need to give your contact information and insurance policy information to the other driver. You should get this information from the other driver as well. If you don’t feel safe exchanging information right away, it’s okay to wait until the police arrive, but you absolutely have to do it before you leave the scene.

However, it’s important to keep your comments to anyone at the scene – the other driver, witnesses, and even the investigating officer – as brief as possible. Stick to the facts of what happened. Don’t say anything about fault or argue with the other driver. Don’t apologize for the accident, either.

See a doctor as soon as possible

Even if you feel okay after the accident, don’t skip this step. In the immediate aftermath, your adrenaline is high, your “fight or flight” response is engaged, and you are not in a position to diagnose yourself. Plus, car accidents sometimes cause hidden injuries like concussions or internal bleeding. Getting medical attention is the best way to protect your health and your rights.

You can get emergency medical care at Baystate Health, Mercy Medical Center or Holyoke Medical Center. You can also go to an urgent care or walk-in clinic, or see your primary care doctor if they have walk-in hours or same-day appointments. The most important thing is that you get checked out right away, ideally on the day of the accident. Tell your doctor about all your symptoms, head to toe, and follow their instructions. Go to your follow-up appointments. See any recommended specialists. And take it easy if you’re told to rest.

Again, getting medical care is the best option for your health. It also creates an official record of your injuries that an insurance company can’t ignore. Be sure to keep copies of your visit summaries, doctor’s orders, prescriptions, medical bills, and other documents. Show those documents to your lawyer at your free consultation.

Notify your insurance company, but be cautious

You have to tell your insurance company that you were in a car accident. However, you don’t have to give them extra information that they could use to downplay or deny your claim. Stick to the facts of what happened and answer their questions as briefly as possible. Don’t speculate about fault or describe your injuries in detail. And remember, you’re only required to talk to your insurance company – leave the other driver’s insurance to your lawyer.

You also aren’t required to give a recorded statement, sign a release, or accept a settlement offer. If an insurance company wants you to sign something, it’s probably to help them save money, not to help you get full compensation. Never sign anything from an insurance company without talking to an attorney first.

Talk to a Chicopee car accident lawyer as soon as possible

It’s never too soon to get legal representation after a car accident. You can even call a lawyer from the scene of the accident. As soon as you hire a lawyer, they can take over investigating your accident and dealing with the insurance company, leaving you free to focus on healing. Your attorney can even handle the initial notification to your insurance company if you contact them soon enough.

While it’s never too soon, it can absolutely be too late. There are legal deadlines that apply to car accident claims – usually three years in Massachusetts, but different deadlines can apply in different circumstances. There are also practical considerations since evidence can be lost or destroyed and weaken your case. And remember, once you accept a settlement, that’s it. Your case is closed, and there is little an attorney can do to help.

That’s why the most important thing you can do is talk to a verified Chicopee car accident attorney as soon as possible. If you were hurt in a car crash, contact one of our attorneys today.

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