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Car Accident Tips

Car Accident Tips

What to do if you’re in a car accident.

car accident

So, you’ve been in a car accident.  Now what?  What do you from this moment on could affect your legitimate claim and whether or not you get the amount you need to compensate you for your injuries.

(1) Document everything. 

After calling 911 and making sure that everyone is okay, document the accident. Car accidents vary in degree of injury and, oftentimes, those injuries are not immediately apparent, e.g. internal bleeding, soft tissue damage, etc.  Therefore, you need to conservatively assess your health.  If you don’t feel okay to move, don’t move.  Wait for medical professionals to arrive on scene to better assess your injuries and give you the “all-clear.”

(2) Take pictures.

Once you’ve been given the all-clear and you decide that you are up to the task, it’s always best to take pictures of the accident scene.  Take pictures of your car and the at-fault party’s car from all angles.  Immediately e-mail them to yourself so you don’t lose them later.

Next, get every single bit of information that the at-fault driver has.  This means his insurance card, his policy limits (which may be on the card itself, but will definitely be on the policy if he carries it in his car), his driver’s license number, his address, his phone number(s), his e-mail address, his car and his/her registration.  If the at-fault driver is okay with the idea, take a picture of all of his documents as well after you write everything down.  Your personal injury attorney needs these.

Now, people that cause car accidents don’t always like to admit they were at fault.  Therefore, stand your ground and do not be goaded into admitting liability to the other driver or answering his 20 questions.  Be polite, but be firm.  Insist on getting his documents, but do not engage in any conversation about the facts of the accident.  The police will ask the questions.

If there are any witnesses on the scene, your personal injury lawyer is obviously going to want to talk to them.  Therefore, get everyone’s contact information including his/her address, phone, and e-mail.

As a car accident attorney, one of my biggest frustrations has been witnesses that move or change their telephone numbers.  Therefore, it’s good to get e-mail.  People don’t change their e-mails.

(3) Careful what you say. 

Next, assuming that the police arrive, you have two choices: (1) tell your side of what happened, assuming that the other driver was 100% at fault; or (2) tell the officer you’d rather not say anything until you speak with a lawyer. If possible, it’s preferable that you tell your version of events to the police so long as you’re not going to (1) incriminate yourself criminally, or (2) devalue what would otherwise be a legitimate claim by making a statement that might be misinterpreted down the road.  Therefore, be honest, be direct, and only answer those questions you know the answers to.  Be sure to get the police officer’s business card.  Your personal injury lawyer will want to know who you spoke with.

If medical staff is on scene, also be direct, honest, and only answer those questions you know the answer to.

At this point, depending on the extent of your injuries, the medical staff may determine that transporting you to the hospital is not absolutely necessary.  You may have a choice as to whether or not you want to seek medical attention.

(4) Get treatment immediately. 

As a car accident attorney, I know that seeking immediate medical attention from a qualified provider with good credentials is essential to your claim.  The longer you wait, the less value your claim has.

I work with medical providers that I have established a relationship with and have worked with in the past.  Therefore, if you’re unsure who you should see and you have the physical ability to consult with me first, I have a network of medical professionals who have been very effective in treating my clients and, best of all, they will usually work on a lien basis which means that they aren’t hounding you for payment until your case has settled.

(5) Talk to no one.  

Lastly, your insurance company and the at-fault party’s insurance company is going to try and talk to you before you “lawyer up.”  UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE ARE YOU TO TALK TO ANY INSURANCE COMPANY PRIOR TO CONSULTING WITH AN ATTORNEY.  Politely tell the insurance agent that you are looking for a personal injury attorney and that, at this time, you do not feel comfortable giving a statement.  If that person persists, get his or her name and phone number and tell him that you will be happy to call him once you have consulted with a personal injury attorney.

 

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