If you get injured in an auto accident, what steps should you take? Here are 5 main steps to remember:
1. Take very good notes about the incident and any injuries sustained to yourself and/or others.
What exactly happened that led to the injuries? What type of injuries resulted? Complex cases may include changes in injury status over time, so a clear record is very important. Take notes throughout the entire claim process including pertinent conversations (write down each person’s name, contact information, date/place of the conversation, and everything you can remember about what was said). While documenting your injuries, continue to chronicle throughout your case how they affect your day-to-day life.
2. Take Photos / Save any Evidence
In an accident, memories change, fade, or are purposefully changed over time. Recording photographs at the time of the accident greatly improves the veracity of a record at a later date. If you are unable to do this at the time of the injury, consider having a friend or loved one do so for you. Take photos of the scene, any injuries, and any property damage. Get copies of any medical records, property (car or otherwise) damage receipts, records or estimates. If a consumer product led to your injury, preserve the item as is at the time of the incident. Keep all associated items such as manuals, labels, packaging, etc., plus the original receipt. If you cannot locate the receipt, attempt to gain a record of the sale through the original seller, bank, or credit card company (used to pay for the item).
3. File a full Police Report
Contact the authorities as soon as possible and file a police report. While often not admissible in civil court, a police report assists your attorney in personal injury disputes including the circumstance of the incident and preliminary assessment of fault. Also, a police report will contain information on anyone that may have witnessed the incident.
4. Car Accident Specific
First, do not leave the scene even if you are in a hurry. Leaving the scene of an accident can be considered as a hit-and-run and you could face serious charges. Prior to assessing property damage, assess the condition of any parties involved including yourself, occupants of your vehicle, occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians and anyone else. Get medical attention if needed and call the police. Exchange information (name, address, vehicle info, telephone numbers). However, do not apologize for anything at the scene – exchange factual information only, your apology could later be construed in an unintentional way. Talk to any witnesses and get their contact information. Do not harass them – they may not be able or willing to talk at the time, but may prove useful down the road. Contact your insurance company and provide details of the incident. Keep track of any medical records, record details (such as photos mentioned above) and get estimates to fix any damage. Then, utilize caution when discussing your case – only speak to your insurance company, attorney and to the police. Finally, be wary of any early settlement offers – consult your personal injury attorney first.
5. Call a Lawyer/Attorney
Put attorney James Hubbert’s number in your cell phone, wallet or somewhere else on your person so you remember when you need it: 248-454-1860