CALL THE POLICE
When the police are called out to an accident scene, an accident report is created. Ordinarily, accident reports include important information such as the proper names and addresses of each person involved in the wreck (drivers and passengers), the drivers' insurance information, and witness statements. Accident reports also ordinarily include diagrams that depict the officer's conclusions on how the crash happened. The information included in a police accident report can certainly assist you in proving the other driver to be at fault, if that is in fact the case.
TAKE PICTURES AND TALK TO WITNESSES
In today's society, most cell phones have built-in cameras. If your cell phone has such a camera or if you have a camera in your vehicle, take pictures of: (1) the involved vehicles as they came to rest after the accident; (2) the damaged areas of the vehicles; (3) the roadway on which the accident happened; (4) skid marks; (5) any road hazard that may have contributed to the crash; and (6) the surrounding area. It is also very important to identify and talk to any people who may have witnessed the accident and to record each witness's name and contact information.
DO NOT CONVERSE WITH OR APPOLOGIZE TO THE OTHER DRIVER(S)
In Louisiana, a comparative negligence state, responsibility (liability) for a motor vehicle accident is determined by the percentages of fault that each involved party had in causing the accident. Sometimes, one driver is 100% at fault and liable. Other times, the percentages of fault are divided between the involved drivers and-or other contributing factors. It is in this respect that your statements made to the other involved drivers are of high importance. For some of us, it is second nature to apologize when we get into an accident, regardless of the circumstances. DO NOT. Another driver in a motor vehicle accident can use such an apology or other statement made by you in an attempt to hold you responsible for some or all of the damage caused by the wreck. Such a statement may also be used against you as an admission of fault or by another involved driver to support a differing version of the accident.
IF INJURED, SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION AND ADVISE THE HEALTH CARE PROVIDER(S) OF YOUR ACCIDENT
If you begin to feel pain or discomfort because of the accident, see a medical doctor or chiropractor as soon as you begin feeling the pain or discomfort, even if you first begin to feel the pain or discomfort days, weeks, or months after the accident. Once you seek medical attention, advise your doctor or chiropractor of the accident, and specifically explain your injuries and resulting pain. This is very important. Just like you have to document the happening of the accident to prove that another driver was liable, you have to document your injuries to prove that you suffered damages from the accident. AND THE ONLY WAY TO DOCUMENT YOUR INJURIES IS THROUGH YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS. It will be incredibly difficult to convince an insurance company, a judge, or a jury that you were seriously injured but did not feel the need to go to the doctor.
CALL A LAWYER
When involved in an accident, always contact an attorney. If given accurate information, a good attorney will be able to provide you with his or her educated opinion on the quality of your case, including your case's reasonable chances of success and reasonable value, Regardless of whether you suffer from nerve injuries, brain injuries, back injuries, neck injuries, shoulder injuries, or other traumatic injuries, and regardless of whether you were involved in an accident involving a rear end collision, improper left turn, reckless operation, or an inattentive driver, hiring a good lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected and that your recovery is maximized,