After Auto Accident Tips
Unfortunately, almost everyone will either personally experience an automobile accident at some point in their life or be a witness to an accident. In the event that you are in an auto accident or are a witness, there are several things to keep in mind regardless of the perceived injury at the time. If you do happen to be injured, you should most likely want to contact a personal injury attorney to discuss all the different claims you can make. Our initial consultations with clients are free. All of our fees for accident cases are contingency fees so you will owe us no fee if we are not successful on your claim. Our auto accident lawyers can help you protect your rights.
It is a good idea to quickly survey the accident scene to see if anyone is injured. In anyone is injured in the accident, make sure someone immediately calls 911. Never move someone who has been injured in an auto accident. It is extremely important that the police be called even if there are no apparent injuries. It is wise to stay on the scene of the accident until officers arrive. Never leave the scene of an accident until you have been told it is appropriate to do so by a police officer. Police officers will document the scene of the accident. If the other driver tries to get you to avoid police involvement – do not cooperate with that suggestion as you will be surprised how often persons involved in an accident change their story after the fact. It is important everything is documented. If the police are not called and important facts are not documented, you may be putting your claim at risk. Depending on laws in your area, prematurely leaving the scene of an accident can be cause for driver’s license penalties or even motor vehicle charges that would necessitate the use of a lawyer.
Sometimes it may be appropriate to remove vehicles from traffic lanes and turn on flashers to warn approaching motorists to use caution. However, whenever possible, the scene of the accident should be left untouched until police arrive. Once this has been done and any injured persons have been taken care of, it is wise to start collecting other information. Gather as much information from the other driver as possible but be very careful about what you say about the happening of the accident. If you can get the other driver to admit fault in the accident, especially in front of witnesses, that can prove invaluable later in the case. Always ask the other driver for personal information including name, address, telephone numbers, driver’s license number, license plate numbers, state of issuance of driver’s license, ownership of the vehicle involved, and automobile insurance information. Try to determine if the other driver was operating their vehicle on behalf of another person. In addition, if you have a cell phone with a camera or regularly carry a camera with you, take photos of the vehicles involved, the accident scene and the individuals involved if possible. If you do not already do so, it is a good idea to keep a disposable camera in the glove box for the above purposes. Finally, the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all witnesses to the accident should be obtained. Frequently, the police do not take down the names of all witnesses.
Even if you are not at fault, it is always surprising how insurance companies try to twist the facts of an accident after the dust settles. Whatever you do, please do not give a statement to your own insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company until you hire a lawyer to assist you with the claim. Insurance companies train their adjusters to try to get information from possible claimants that will hurt their claims. After the police arrive, be sure to ask for the officer’s contact information, including the case number assigned to the accident so that you may acquire a police report once one has been written. As soon as it is safe to do so, make a written account of what you remember from the accident, including road conditions, weather, lighting, speed limits, etc. Whatever you do, do not admit fault for the accident if you are not at fault. Talk to no one but the police, telling them only the facts as you remember them. All of this documentation will help your attorney, should litigation arise.
In some jurisdictions police will not write a report unless someone is injured. Obviously, if you are not injured, you do not want to suggest you are injured. However, most physicians will say that people involved in an automobile accident can discover injuries within 24-72 hours after an accident, and in some cases much longer than that. Often, the adrenaline associated with being in a collision can mask the signs of injury.
If you are injured in an accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible following an accident either from your primary care physician or a specialist, depending on the nature and extent of your injury. If you do not have a primary care physician or a specialist, our office does have a list of physicians throughout the various counties in the state and can refer you to the appropriate physician if necessary. We usuall7y will recommend someone who has an office either close to your home or work. In moist cases, we give you a list of physicians in the area and let you choose from the list. We do not care what physician you go to as long as the physician is competent and familiar with how to treat your injuries. Often, your primary care physician will refer you to a specialist if he/she thinks it is appropriate.
Insurance companies try to convince juries that if someone is injured they go to a doctor. Therefore, they argue, that if you do not go to a doctor you must not be injured. Surely, that is not the case in many instances because a lot of people are familiar with the type of injury they receive and try to self treat if possible. However, that is not always a good idea since there can be complications later that may never have been considered. On balance, it is a good idea to leave the medicine to the physicians and the law to the lawyers. If you try to self treat an injury just be aware that it could backfire on you since there will be no medical documentation of the seriousness of the injury. If you have questions and would like to speak to our car accident attorneys please click here or call today.