Interstate 10 carries millions of passenger vehicles, big rigs, and more across the country every year. Louisiana sees some of the most traffic on I-10 through major cities like Lake Charles, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans. With all the traffic, it’s no surprise that over 100 deadly car accidents happen on I-10 each year in Louisiana.
The Interstate is especially dangerous in Baton Rouge, where the highway narrows to one lane near the Mississippi River and splits onto I-12 on the other side of town. The stretch of I-10 through Baton Rouge alone sees hundreds of car accidents a year.
What should you do if you’re the victim of a Baton Rouge car accident? Interstate traffic accidents can cause major injuries, the loss of your vehicle and other property, and worse. If you’ve been hurt in an I-10 traffic accident, there are 7 steps to follow to ensure those responsible are held accountable.
7 Essential Steps to Protect Your Claim
1. Stop the car and get out of the flow of traffic
If your car can still move after the accident, pull over to the side of the road. Otherwise, exit the car and move to safety on the shoulder. There, you’ll be able to assess your and your passengers’ injuries while you perform the next steps on this list.
2. Call 911
Immediately after getting to safety, call 911 to dispatch emergency services to your location. If you or a passenger has been injured, paramedics will come to stabilize your condition and take you to the hospital.
Even in the absence of injuries, a Louisiana state police officer will come to the scene to take statements and make an accident report, which will serve as necessary evidence later. In fact, Louisiana law requires you to call the police after every serious traffic accident.
3. Document the scene
If you or your passengers suffered visible injuries from the crash, take pictures of them for documentation. These pictures will be useful during your insurance claim and as evidence if your case goes to court. Also take pictures of the scene of the accident and your vehicle’s damage, and even the surrounding area.
Finally, make a list of the facts of the accident, including
- Date and time of the accident
- Address or approximate address where the crash occurred
- A detailed account of the events
- Notes regarding the driving conditions
4. Collect everyone’s information
It’s vitally important to exchange information with the other driver involved in the accident, including your names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information. Take a picture of the other car’s license plate if you can.
You should also get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident, and information about the officers at the scene.
5. Visit a doctor
If you’ve been injured in any way, no matter how minor, get to a doctor, hospital, or urgent care center immediately to assess your injuries. Sometimes, an injury’s symptoms don’t become apparent for a few days, so be proactive. Also, keep track of your medical expenses and pain and suffering you’ve experienced.
6. Report the accident with your insurance company
Give your insurance company a call as soon as possible after your accident, especially if you were not at fault. If you don’t contact your insurer within a specific time period (which might depend on your coverage), your policy could deny your claim outright.
However, do not talk to the other party’s insurance, even if they call you. They could ask for a recorded statement or offer you cash to sign a release—DO NOT do either of these. They’re trying to get you to admit fault or deny or minimize your injuries.
7. Call an experienced Baton Rouge personal injury lawyer
While this may be the last step in this list, it’s vitally important to call an experienced Baton Rouge car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Louisiana’s civil code imposes a one-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases, which means that if you wait longer to file your claim, your case won’t be heard.
When you need an experienced lawyer in Baton Rouge, give the compassionate team at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys a call today. We have decades of experience helping Baton Rouge accident victims recover compensation for their car accident claims. Give us a call at 888.501.7888 to begin your journey back to health.