Things To Do Immediately After An Auto Accident
Protecting the integrity of your personal injury claim is vital! People are often lost and confused in the immediate moments after a collision, and this is when some of the most vital information to the case gets lost. I am arming you with the information you need to be thinking about at the scene.
Photographs of the property damageIn the immediate moments after the accident it is important that after you ascertain what your injuries are, if you are able to move about, that you take photographs of the property damage sustained by your vehicle as well as the positioning of the vehicles.
This is important because it supports your version of how to accident happened. Many times people will say that they will report the collision to their insurance company as it happened at the scene. However, later, it is oftentimes discovered that the guilty party changes their narrative to place a degree of fault ( if not all) on the injured person. This makes for a pretty annoying liability fight!
Don't let this happen to you!
If you are too badly injured and cannot take the proper photos, then ask ( if you are able) someone present on the scene who is a neutral party ( such as a passenger, witness, police officer or medical staff) if they would not mind taking photos for you to memorialize what has taken place.
Additionally, photos document the damages to your vehicle that can be seen with the naked eye, so as to support your claims. In some instances, insurance companies may try to allege that some of the property damage was not due to the accident or wasn't present on the day of the collision in order to decrease their liability. Having photos to substantiate your side of things helps to combat these types of obstacles as they arise.
Witness Statements/Contact InformationWitness statements can be vital to a personal injury case. For example, in a situation where the negligent party points the blame at the plaintiff and there is no police report, a witness who was present at the time of the collision, seen how it happened, and supports your version of things can be a tremendous help to getting liability accepted or winning over a jury.
You want to get as many witnesses as you can to substantiate your version of what happened in the collision, in case a dispute arises. However, if there are no witnesses to your collision that come forward and provide their information, do not fret, many times a police report suffices as well.
Exchange insurance informationIt is VITAL that you get the negligent parties insurance information. This is a crucial part of your case because the insurance company, in most cases, will be providing the payment on your claim. You want to make sure, if possible to have the negligent party call their insurance company right there on the scene and report the accident, so that you don't stand a chance of the guilty party changing their story after they've left the accident scene and thought things over.
Take pictures of your InjuriesBefore you have had time to heal, document any and all visible injuries, no matter how minor they appear. Every injury is apart of your damages and you deserve compensation for these injuries.
If you are suffering a headache that wasn't present before this accident make sure that when you present to the medical staff you inform them of the headache so that diagnostic testing can be performed to ensure that there is no internal bleeding.
Call the policeI cannot stress enough how important it is for you to have a police officer present after a collision. This is important not only for your safety, but also so that you can be sure to get a police report, which will detail your version as well as the guilty parties' version of what occurred on the day of the collision. This police report will have street names and a small diagram of the positioning of the vehicles, location and time of day of the collision, as well as details about whether citations were issued and to whom, etc.
Having a police report can make the claims process go a lot easier as many insurance companies will accept liability upon the receipt of a police report that substantiates your version of events.
Keep in mind, though, that the police officer(s) oftentimes are not present at the time of the collision. So, mistakes can be made ( ie: labeling the drivers of the vehicles incorrectly, omitting passenger names, swaping of the Unit number). If this happens to you, it is possible to get the police report amended, if you act quickly enough and the officer does, in fact, acknowledge there is a mistake and makes the changes.
Go to the hospitalI advise anyone that has been involved in a collision of any kind to go the hospital just to get clear documentation by medical personnel of the injuries. People have oftentimes been surprised to find that although they felt fine, something was going on internally that, if left untreated, could have possibly caused them grave injury ( ie, internal bleeding ).
Don't take a chance with your health! Always, Always, ALWAYS go seek medical attention immediately after a collision.