If you are injured in a car accident, your first order of business is to get medical attention. That may seem like a common-sense reaction, but too many people sustain injuries yet believe that “it’s no big deal” or that seeking treatment is a sign of weakness.

After an accident, you should receive treatment from medical professionals and if you believe it is necessary, seek out a second opinion. Your health is far too important to hold to just one opinion. Seek out the opinion of specialists. At the very least, they can confirm your first doctor’s diagnosis.

You should also contact your auto insurance company and then contact a qualified lawyer as soon as possible.

What to do next

In Pennsylvania, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Like a doctor that specializes in injuries to different parts of the body, there are lawyers who concentrate their practice in different types of cases. For your maximum benefit, you should seek out a personal injury lawyer to help you shepherd your case through the legal system.

Insurance companies have a vested interest in keeping your award as low as possible. By listening only to insurance adjusters and not hiring a lawyer, you may not be maximizing your financial recovery.

Take notes and save copies of all the paperwork you receive as you go through the medical system, the legal system and the insurance system. Make sure your lawyer has copies of all the paperwork.

If you have the opportunity, take photos of the accident site. If possible, get the names and phone numbers of potential witnesses who can corroborate your version of events.

By hiring a lawyer, you can make sure you recover money that you lost because of your injury such as medical expenses, loss of income while you are healing and repair and/or replacement for property damage. You may also be able to recover money for non-economic damages such as disfigurement, pain and suffering.