Collect, Go, and Call!
Remember to stay calm if you become involved in a car accident. Calming yourself will enable you to gather information and make the right choices. You can then make the best of a bad situation. Check for injuries that may need immediate medical attention. Then, determine if there may be other, less apparent injuries. Remember, life and health are more important than damage to vehicles or property. If you are hurt in a car accident, call the police, no matter how minor the accident. Ask the police to get the statement of the other driver, and other witnesses, if available, and make a report. Even if the other driver admits fault to you at the scene, ask the police to take their statement. Statements made by the other party are best right after the accident, before they have time to think of excuses for their carelessness. Later, they may blame you!
If you have been hurt in an accident caused by someone’s carelessness or negligence, documenting physical evidence at the accident scene is important to support your legal claim. Try to get photographs of the accident scene and the cars involved as soon as possible, because accident scenes can be altered, memories can be sketchy and unreliable, and other evidence can be overlooked or misplaced over time. If you are able, BE SURE to DO THE FOLLOWING:
- Collect as much information as you can about the other drivers. Write down their names, addresses, and phone and driver’s license numbers. Get the make and model, and the license plate number of the other vehicles.
- Describe the damage and its location on each vehicle.
- Jot down names, phone numbers, and addresses of anyone who may have witnessed the accident. This can prevent disagreement concerning how the accident actually happened.
Call or email us for a FREE “In Case of Accident” card to put in your glove box as a reminder.
GO TO A DOCTOR
Go to your doctor immediately! Don’t delay… it can hurt your case. If you don’t have a doctor, call us and we can refer you to a doctor EVEN IF YOU HAVE NO HEALTH INSURANCE. Injuries sustained in a motor vehicle or other accident — even those that appear minor — can become very serious. Quite often the pain of an injury is not felt right away because of the effects of stress and adrenaline from the excitement of the accident. Hours, or even days later, you may begin to feel the painful effects of whiplash, back or shoulder sprain, or other kinds of muscle and ligament strains. You may even sustain head trauma, or receive long-term permanent back or spinal cord damage and not become aware of it for some time after an accident! Injuries such as these should not be self-diagnosed. Even some doctors have difficulty properly diagnosing such injuries immediately after an automobile accident. Call us for a referral to a doctor who will take your pain seriously and give you appropriate treatment. Don’t jeopardize your case by “toughing it out” at home. Get your pain documented in a way insurance companies understand, Call us and get treatment now.
The Injury Law Center can give you the help and advice you need. We can build a strong case for you! Did you know that it is YOUR obligation to PROVE your case? The insurance company and the other driver do not have to prove anything. Insurance companies are not on your side! They will NOT help you prove your case. They may ask you to sign an authorization to allow them to get your medical records, but in fact, they are looking for ways to defeat your claim. Don’t sign!
Insurance companies only pay if you convince them you can prove each element of your case. Injury law and the practical aspects of proving your claim can be complicated. If you make a mistake, your insurance adjuster will use it to defeat or diminish your claim. Having an experienced attorney on your side can make all the difference. Studies show that injured persons represented by attorneys get more money than those who are not represented. Is it surprising that insurance companies discourage people from getting attorneys?
Do not, under any circumstances, give a statement to the other side’s insurance without getting legal advice first. Do not speak to the insurance company of the at fault property owner (in a premises liability accident and injury) or the insurance of the other driver (in a motor vehicle accident). Many insurers will try and get a recorded statement from you soon after the accident. A claims adjuster is assigned by the insurer to evaluate the fault of the accident, the nature and extent of your injury and the property damage (of your car, for example, when in motor vehicle accident). Just remember, the adjuster’s job is to limit the amount paid to you. The claims adjuster represents the insurance company’s business interest, not yours! A recorded statement can undermine your case. Having an experienced attorney working on your behalf is good practical advice. Speak with the Injury Law Center, or your attorney first. To do otherwise can be costly. An experienced personal injury lawyer can determine whether providing a statement is a good idea, and if so, be present with you during the statement. It is not wise to allow the insurer to address important issues pertaining to your accident without the benefit of a legal professional protecting your interests.
The best way to be sure you preserve every important detail of your accident and subsequent injury is to take notes as soon a possible after the accident. Write down what occurred and how your injuries have impacted your daily life. Taking notes after an accident is probably about the last thing on your mind. We understand you have just gone through a traumatic experience. But our experience tells us that taking notes will strengthen your position in a personal injury legal claim. If you are not able to do this soon after the accident for whatever reason, you should consider asking a loved one or friend to help you. Or, just give us a call at Toll Free 1-800-300-8561. We can help.
Instructions on what to write down soon after your accident:
- What exactly happened before the accident?
- What exactly happened during the accident (how did the accident occur)?
- What exactly happened after the accident?
- What forces caused your injury?
- What did you feel, or “how” did you feel, during the accident?
- Where did the accident occur?
- What time did the accident occur?
- What were the weather conditions?
- Who was with you, if anyone, during the accident?
- What did any party say after the accident?
- What else do you feel may be important to make note of?
Keep a Journal Throughout the Claim Process
As your healing process begins and your legal claim moves along you’ll want to keep a log or journal of everything relevant to your case. This should include:
- What injuries have you suffered physically and emotionally?
- What medical treatment have you received? Make a list of all providers.
- What medical treatment have you been asked to perform in the future as a result of the accident?
- What effect has your injury had on your job?
- What effect has your injury had on your social life?
- How has your injury changed the way you see yourself?
- How many times have you visited the doctor(s)?
- How many days have you missed work as a result of your injury?
- Have you had to cancel or postpone any family functions or a planned vacation?
- What effect has your injury had on your close family relationships?
Keeping track of these things, and any new developments pertaining to the accident, is good practical advice. Be sure to include conversations with your attorney and your insurance company, medical care providers, witnesses to the accident, or anyone else associated with the accident. Record or write down each person’s name you speak with, and get his or her contact information, the date and time you spoke, and as much as you can remember about what was said. The more information you have, the better your attorney will be able to represent your legal claim.
The INJURY LAW CENTER provides FREE ADVICE regarding personal injury claims. We have the experience and resources to expertly evaluate your injury and pursue your claim. This is our twentieth year protecting the rights of injured people and their families in the Bay Area. Personal injury law is all we do! Call us NOW or ANYTIME toll free at 1-800-300-8561. We can help.