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What to Do After a Car Accident in Pittsfield, MA

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The car accident happened in a moment – you were driving in downtown Pittsfield, MA, coming from Dalton, on Route 20 or Route 41 when someone who wasn’t paying attention slammed into your car. You’re dazed, confused, injured, and not sure what to do next. While this is understandable, you need to keep your wits about you. Car accidents can change lives. Your decisions will affect your future.

That’s why it’s so important to hire a Pittsfield car accident attorney who knows how the system works and can move your case forward. Your lawyer will do the “heavy lifting” to put you in the best position to recover. Here are the steps you need to take to move forward after a car accident.

Call 911 and wait for the police to arrive

In Massachusetts, it’s a serious crime to flee the scene of a car accident. Make sure you’re safe, then call 911 and wait for the Pittsfield Police or the Massachusetts State Police to arrive. They will make sure everyone is safe, secure the area, and call an ambulance if necessary. The police will also prepare an official accident report, which will become a key piece of evidence in your claim.

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Start investigating the accident immediately

Some of the most important evidence in your car accident claim may vanish in days or even hours after the collision. Take pictures of the scene, including the positions of the vehicles involved – ideally, before they’re moved out of traffic – as well as property damage, road conditions, skid marks (or lack thereof), and any visible injuries.

You also need to get names and contact information for any witnesses, as well as the name and badge number of the investigating officer. If there are any security cameras nearby, definitely take note of that as well. Camera footage can be powerful evidence – but it can also be deleted or overwritten within days, so make sure you take steps to have it preserved.

Exchange contact and insurance information, but be careful

By law, you have to exchange your contact information and car insurance information with the other driver. (If you don’t feel safe doing so immediately, you can wait until after the police arrive.) If you were hit by a commercial vehicle, get the name and contact information of their employer as well. However, you need to keep your comments to anyone at the scene to a minimum. When you’re talking to the other drivers, witnesses, and even the investigating officer, stick to the facts of what happened. Don’t apologize, and don’t downplay the accident or your injuries.

Get medical attention promptly

After an accident, your fight-or-flight response is engaged, which means you might not notice pain or other symptoms. Plus, car crashes often cause hidden injuries like concussions and internal bleeding. So, even if you feel okay, you need to get medical attention to make sure. Get checked out by EMTs at the scene, then see a doctor as soon as possible.

You can get medical attention at Berkshire Medical Center or Fairview Hospital. You can also go to a local urgent care clinic like MedExpress, or see your primary care provider if they offer walk-in hours or same-day appointments. The important thing is that you see a doctor right away and tell them about all your symptoms. Don’t leave anything out.

It’s also critical that you follow your doctor’s instructions. If you’re referred to a specialist, see that specialist. If your doctor orders diagnostic tests like X-rays, get those tests. Take your medications as prescribed and follow your doctor’s instructions at work and in your day-to-day activities. Keep copies of your medical records – visit summaries, test results, doctor’s orders, bills, prescriptions, and so on.

Carefully notify your insurance company

You do have to notify your insurance company soon after you are involved in an accident. However, you don’t have to give them too much information. Stick to the basic facts of what happened like the date, time, and location. Don’t describe your injuries in detail, either – it’s enough to say, “I’m getting medical care.” And remember, you only have to talk to your insurance company. You’re not required to speak with the other driver’s insurance at all.

If the insurance company asks you to give a recorded statement or sign a release, talk to your lawyer first. Likewise, if they make you a settlement offer, review it with your lawyer before you sign. Once you accept a settlement offer, that’s it; you can’t go back for more. Your attorney can review your settlement offer and advise whether it pays fair value for your case.

Contact an experienced Pittsfield car accident attorney

Again, besides getting medical attention, the most important step you can take after an accident is contacting a lawyer. Your attorney can investigate your accident and advise you of your legal rights and options. Your lawyer can also take over dealing with the insurance company on your behalf – they can even handle the initial notification to your insurance company if you hire them soon enough.

It's never too soon to talk to a lawyer. You can call from the accident scene. But it can absolutely be too late. You want to get an attorney on your side right away before evidence disappears and legal deadlines expire. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident in Pittsfield, contact one of our verified attorneys today.

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