INVOLVED IN A MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT? HERE'S WHAT TO DO
Dec. 30, 2015
There are several things you need to do right away if you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident.
1. If injuries are involved, call the police. While who is at fault may appear to be easy immediately following an accident, parties change their stories later. If you have been injured or the accident is sufficiently severe that it is likely you will be feeling it tomorrow, it is important to call the police and report the accident. Preferably, the accident needs to be investigated by a traffic officer.If an officer does not respond to the accident scene, file a report later with the police.
2. Get names and telephone numbers of witnesses. If someone approaches the accident scene and says that the saw the accident, get that person's information as liability may be later disputed. The best witness is a third-party witness who observed the accident.
3. Report the accident to your insurance carrier. If liability or fault is disputed, your carrier will repair your vehicle if you have collision insurance and go after the other driver's insurance carrier. If liability is not contested, you can typically work directly with the other driver's insurance carrier to get your car repaired.
4. Take lots of pictures. Both of the cars involved in the accident and any physical evidence of injury. It is important that the ultimate trier of fact have a handle on the extent of the injury and any pain and suffering. Nothing paints a better picture of the client's pain and suffering than a picture.
5. See a doctor. If you have been injured, get into to see a doctor to document the fact that you have been injured. It is important that you get into to see the doctor as soon after the accident as possible. Describe completely every symptom you are experiencing, even if you think that symptoms is not a significant problem at the time. Often the symptoms that appear to be minor immediately following the accident turn out to be a more serious injury down the road. It is going to be difficult to link that injury to the accident if the initial complaints following the accident did not include symptoms related to the injury. It is also important to give the doctor a good history of the accident and the fact that the symptoms originated with the accident.
6. Consult with a lawyer. A good personal injury lawyer can help guide you through the process. The insurance will disregard much of your claim if you are not represented. Having a good attorney does make a difference.