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What Should I Do if I am Injured in an Accident?

According to the CDC, motor vehicle-related injuries send more than 2.3 million people to hospital emergency departments every year. If you have been hurt in a car accident or injured in another situation, there are steps you should take to protect your health and personal interests. The following contains a list of dos and don’ts to consider, with explanations for them below.

If you have been wounded in an accident and are in need of an experienced personal injury attorney in Detroit Lakes and the surrounding area, including Northwestern Minnesota and Eastern North Dakota, Thorwaldsen and Malmstrom PLLP would be happy to provide you with a no-obligation consultation concerning your circumstances. Personal injury laws exist to pay you for bodily injury and pain and suffering damages.

If You Have Been Injured in An Accident, Take the Following Steps:



  • Seek medical attention right away; call 911 if necessary.
  • Save every bill and record you receive.
  • Write information down—keep a journal.
  • Get contact information from all witnesses and law enforcement officials.
  • Get a copy of the crash report.
  • Take photos at the accident scene, including damage to your vehicle and your personal injuries.


  • Admit fault to anyone.
  • Provide a statement to ANYONE, without first speaking to an attorney.
  • Sign anything without first showing it to your lawyer.
  • Talk about the accident or your injuries with anyone but your lawyer.
  • Post about your accident or injuries on social media.

Things You Should Do if You Are Hurt in an Accident


Get Medical Attention

If you or someone else has been seriously injured in an accident, call 911 right away. For minor injuries, see a doctor as soon as you are able.

When you are in an accident, adrenalin may flood your bloodstream and block the pain you should be feeling. As a result, your injuries may be more extensive than you realize. Some injuries, such as whiplash, may not present themselves for days or weeks following your accident.

Write Down the Details

Write down what happened as soon as possible. If you are unable to do so, have a friend or family member do it for you. Document how the accident occurred and all the details you can recall. Waiting even several hours can affect how much you remember.

Start a daily journal about your injuries, including any physical or mental pain you are having and how it affects your daily life, etc. Keep track of everyone who contacts you about the accident, what information they are requesting, and what you have provided them. Document when you speak to law enforcement, your lawyer, the press, insurance companies, or your doctor, and provide a brief synopsis of those conversations.

Get the Contact Information of Witnesses

Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of everyone who saw what happened or can verify your story. Ask for the names and badge numbers of law enforcement. Write down what these individuals say. Keep this information in a safe place until you can share it with your lawyer.

Crash Report

Obtain a copy of the accident report from law enforcement, including any charges that will be filed. Your personal injury lawyer will need these police reports.

Photos, Photos, Photos!

Take pictures of the accident scene as soon as you are able, including what caused it. Snap photos of traffic signs, stop lights, roadway markings, road hazards, the weather, etc. Get pictures from several angles. Take both close-ups and longshots, some at eye level, some from above, and some from near the ground.

Photograph your vehicle’s interior and exterior, and that of others involved in the crash. Take pictures of skid marks on the roadway or ditch, as well as the area around the vehicles.

Document your injuries and those of anyone else on the scene. Have someone help you if needed.

Keep Accurate Records

Be sure to keep all bills and medical information you receive concerning your case. Start a file and put everything inside it. This information will go a long way in ensuring you receive fair compensation for your injuries. You may be able to have your medical bills paid and receive recompense for lost income and pain and suffering, both now and in the future.

Things You Should Not Do if You Are Injured in an Accident


Do Not Admit Fault to Anyone

Being involved in an accident is an emotional event. It’s easy to feel partially responsible for what happened, even if you are not at fault. Do not admit even partial fault to anyone concerning your part in the situation.

This may work against you in obtaining payment for the injuries you have suffered. Only provide the basic facts to law enforcement, but never assume responsibility for what occurred without first speaking with an attorney.

If you are contacted by the other party’s insurance company, DO NOT give them details about the accident. Refer them to your own insurance company or to your lawyer.

Do Not Sign Anything Without Legal Counsel

Never sign any sort of document without first speaking with your attorney. A law office that has experience with personal injury claims will look it over and determine if you are signing away your rights to future compensation for the injuries you received at the hands of someone else, whether it was intentional or due to negligence.

Stay Off Social Media!

We can’t stress this enough. Do not post about your accident, your injuries or how you are currently spending your day. This includes comments and photos.

You may be experiencing physical pain, but feel good enough one day to enjoy a short walk around the block. As positive and innocuous as this may seem at the time, posting about it on social media may make it appear as though you are not suffering as much as you claim to be. This may harm your personal injury case down the road.

Protect Yourself and Consult a Personal Injury Attorney

In a perfect world, accidents wouldn’t happen or, if they did, responsible parties would naturally do the right thing and pay for the injuries they have caused another person. Unfortunately, things rarely work out that way. It’s important to protect your personal interests if you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, whether it is a car crash, job site accident, dog bite incident, or other traumatic situation.

Depending on the type and severity of your accident or injuries, you may want to meet with an attorney. Most Minnesota personal injury lawyers will consult with you at no charge about the physical, emotional, and economic damages you have suffered before taking on your case. If you are in need of a personal injury attorney in Detroit Lakes and the surrounding area, please contact Thorwaldsen and Malmstrom PLLP today.