Many clients report that they were scared, shaken up, dazed, confused and full of adrenaline following their accidents. These are common responses to being involved in a serious accident.
While it may be difficult to remember the following suggestions after an accident, they may make the unpleasant experience go as smoothly as possible.
If you are Injured, Get Treatment.
Once you have regained your senses, you should evaluate yourself to determine whether or not you are injured. If you are injured, ask for medical assistance. You may ask for the EMS, call a friend to take you to the local Urgent Care or to the emergency room. Your health should always remain your primary concern. If you continue to have significant pain and discomfort following the accident, get in to see your family doctor. If you do not have a family doctor, you may consider going to the Urgent Care or emergency room. The physicians at those facilities may also be able to refer you to a family physician and/or specialist. If you are injured, DO NOT wait to get treatment.
File a Police Report.
Call the police and ensure that a report is filed. Many times the at-fault driver will promise to “take care of it.” That is fine, still call the police. This will ensure that he or she is providing the officer with the correct name, address, phone number, license plate number and insurance information just in case he/she fails to “take care of it.” In many instances, the police will take photographs of the scene and the vehicles involved, they may take measurements, calculate speeds, obtain video camera surveillance, collect witness statements as well as statements from the parties. All of this evidence may prove critical to your case in the future. Once the officer has completed the investigation, the officer will issue a final report. The final collision report may cite one party for a traffic violation. The conclusions in the final collision report help the insurance companies determine the liability of each driver.
Take Photographs and/or Video
Remember, if you are injured, get medical help. However, if you are well enough to take photographs or a video, you should obtain photographs of the scene and/or the vehicles involved in the collision. A picture can be worth a thousand words and they can speak volumes at trial. DO NOT rely on the liability insurance company to take photographs and/or to preserve photographs. It is not in their best interest to keep graphic photographs.
You can use the BuckeyeLaw Mobile App to help you collect evidence and document your case. Links are provided at the bottom of the page.
Get the Names and Phone Numbers of Witnesses
It is important to write down the names and phone numbers of all of the people who witnessed the collision. Even if it seems obvious that the other party was liable, get the names of witnesses. This will help avoid a denial of liability down the road.
Exchange Insurance Information
You must ensure that you obtain the other driver’s insurance information. If possible, get the insurance agent contact information as well as the insurance company’s name and policy number. If you do not get the other driver’s insurance information, you may be forced to submit the claim through your own insurance company which may require you to pay for some of the damages out of your own pocket.
Keep Good Records
It is important to keep track of the days and hours you miss from work as well as a list of the doctors and medical facilities that you see for your injuries. These lists will help your attorney ensure that he/she has a complete medical file for you and will help ensure that they are able to properly calculate your out-of-pocket losses.
Know Your Rights
Many insurance companies want to take statements immediately following an accident and/or they may ask you to sign medical authorizations. An attorney can advise you of your rights and obligations and may be able to assist you in ensuring you are fully compensated for your injuries and other related damages.