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What to Do After a Car Accident in Springfield, MA

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Take charge of the situation and protect your legal rights

As rattled as you may be after a car crash on I-91, I-291, State Street, or any of the side streets in Springfield, you need to keep a level head and take action to protect your future. The crash itself was over in moments. The consequences can affect you for years, and the choices you make in the aftermath can ripple across the rest of your life.

The single most important thing you can do after a crash – besides getting medical attention – is to call a car accident lawyer, the sooner the better. Here are some other steps you need to take to protect your legal rights after a car accident in Springfield.

Call 911 and wait for the police to arrive

Under Massachusetts law, leaving the scene of an accident – except to get emergency medical attention – is a serious crime. Call 911 and wait for the Springfield Police or the Massachusetts State Police to arrive at the scene. In addition to securing the scene, the police will investigate the accident and prepare an official accident report, which will become a key piece of evidence in your case.

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Exchange information with the other driver

Legally, you need to exchange basic contact and insurance information with the other driver involved. Get names and contact information for any witnesses as well. If you were hit by a commercial vehicle, then get the name and contact information of the driver’s employer; likewise, if you were hit by a city or state vehicle, take note of this information as well.

Keep your comments to anyone at the scene – including the investigating officer – as brief as possible. Stick to the facts of what happened. Don’t say anything about fault, and don’t apologize. This may seem rude, but it’s necessary to protect yourself from being falsely blamed for the crash.

Start gathering evidence immediately

If you have a cellphone or a camera, take as many pictures of the scene as you can. Make sure you document vehicle positions, skid marks (or lack thereof), vehicle damage, surrounding conditions, and any visible injuries. If there are any businesses or government buildings nearby with security cameras, ask them to preserve the footage – remember, it may be deleted or overwritten within days otherwise.

You should also start keeping a log after the accident. Document your injuries and symptoms and the effects those symptoms have had on your life.

Get medical attention immediately

Even if you feel fine, and even if you were checked out by emergency responders at the scene, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible, ideally on the same day. If it’s already been a few days after the accident and you haven’t seen a doctor yet, do so immediately. Some injuries have delayed-onset symptoms. You could be walking around with a concussion or an internal injury and not know it – and you need to get checked out to protect your health.

You can go to the emergency department at Mercy Medical Center or Baystate Health, or you can visit an urgent care clinic such as AFC Urgent Care Springfield. You can also see your primary care provider (PCP) if they have walk-in hours or can get you a prompt appointment. The most important thing is that you get checked out as soon as you can and tell the provider who sees you about all your symptoms, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.

Then, follow your doctor’s instructions. Take your medications as prescribed. If your doctor recommends diagnostic tests like an X-ray or MRI, get those tests done. If you need to see a specialist, do so. This is the best way to protect your health, and it also protects your legal rights by creating documentation of your injuries and medical expenses. Save all your bills, visit summaries, and other medical records, and show them to your lawyer.

Notify your insurance company, but be cautious

Most insurance policies require you to tell your insurance company promptly when you’ve been in an accident. You need to do this, but you don’t have to give them any information they can use to downplay your injuries. Tell them the basic facts of what happened and don’t give any unnecessary details. Concerning your injuries, it’s sufficient to say, “I’m getting medical treatment” and leave it at that.

If an insurance company representing another driver contacts you, decline to speak with them. Have them talk to your lawyer. Likewise, if you get a settlement offer or you’re asked to sign a release, review it with your lawyer before you sign. Your attorney can even handle the initial notification to your insurance company if you get them involved soon enough.

Call a Springfield car accident attorney as soon as possible

Again, the sooner you get a lawyer on your side, the better off you are. Your lawyer can start dealing with the insurance company on your behalf and investigate your case before evidence disappears. Your attorney can also advise you of any applicable legal deadlines – in Massachusetts, that’s usually 3 years, but other deadlines can apply in some circumstances – and make sure you keep your options open.

It's never too soon to call an attorney, but it can absolutely be too late. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident in Springfield, contact a verified car accident lawyer as soon as possible for a free, confidential consultation.

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