If you are injured in an accident, the moments that follow can be confusing and stressful. Whether it be an accident at work, at a place of business, or an auto accident, it is easy to be overwhelmed with what you need to do immediately following the accident in order to protect yourself. Many important details about the accident can easily be forgotten over time, and something that you might not even notice at the time may become a key fact down the road.
Most people these days realize the importance of taking pictures of the accident, which has become very simple thanks to smartphones. However, pictures cannot tell the whole story, and there are a number of other steps you can take to protect yourself. Here are a list of things to keep in mind if you are ever in accident:
• Do immediately call for medical help if someone is injured. An injury that may seem minor at first could potentially be something more serious.
• Do report the accident to your insurance agent as soon as possible.
• Do exchange information with the other parties involved. If you are in a car accident, be sure to get the following information: license plate numbers; the others drivers’ insurance information and driver’s license numbers; and, the make and model of the vehicles involved in the accident.
• Do get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses. Witnesses can help clarify facts about the accident, and provide details that you may not have noticed about the accident or the events surrounding it.
• Do take note of the conditions surrounding the accident, such as the time of day, weather, distances, any dangerous conditions, etc.
• Do call the police if necessary. They will document the accident and gather facts for legal purposes. This is especially important in the case of an auto accident, as any police report will become an important piece of evidence.
• Don’t leave the scene of the accident.
• Don’t delay in getting treatment if you are injured. You may be seriously injured and not realize it. In addition, someone may question the validity of your injuries if choose not to immediately seek treatment.
• Don’t discuss the accident with anyone at the scene, and don’t discuss who is at fault. Statements made about who or what caused the accident can later be used to challenge certain versions of the accident, and may be used against you.
• Don’t forget take pictures. This is especially important in an auto accident.
• Don’t speak to anybody from the at-fault party’s insurance company before consulting a lawyer.
• Don’t wait to get legal advice. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to prove your case.
• Don’t sign any documents from an insurance company without getting legal advice first, as you may be inadvertently waiving rights you may have.
• Don’t agree to a settlement of your case until you get legal advice.
If you have been injured in an accident and are not sure what to do next, please contact our firm to set up a free consultation.