1. Call the police, call 911
Even if the other driver apologizes and offers to “pay the damages”, call the police to the scene. Drivers can exchange false information or change their stories later.
2. Safety First
If necessary for safety and you are able, move your car out of dangerous traffic. If you can’t move your vehicle, stay buckled in your car until help arrives and turn on your hazard lights.
3. Seek Medical Attention
If your are hurt, get immediate medical attention, when in doubt ask for an ambulance.
4. Take pictures and notes
If you or a loved one are able, take pictures of the vehicles involved at the scene. Also write down for yourself what happened and the names and phone numbers of anyone at the scene who could be a witness. Don’t rely on the police.
5. Take Action to protect yourself
Often, when you are hurt in an accident you are unable to take steps to secure evidence or you simply don’t know what to do. Relieve this burden, by contacting an experienced injury attorney who can move to quickly secure important evidence that can often be critical to your case. This includes photographs of the scene and vehicles involved before the vehicles are repaired or destroyed and interviewing eye witnesses before their memories fade or they can’t be found.
6. Don’t sign anything
Never sign any document or release unless it is requested directly by the police. Do not sign anything from any insurance company, even your own without first consulting a injury lawyer.
7. Don’t give a recorded or written statement to anyone other than the police
Often insurance companies, even your own, will ask you to provide a written statement or recorded interview right after an accident. Always consult with an injury lawyer first. Often insurance companies will try to use these things against you.
8. Get appropriate follow up care
Don’t assume the pain will go away or get better with time. Report all injuries to your doctor and follow thru with the treatment offered. If you delay in going to the doctor, or fail to follow thru with the treatment offered, many times the insurance company will use this to minimize your case.
9. Maintain a journal or diary
A journal or diary describing how your specific injuries are affecting your everyday life including work, school, household chores, and recreation is a very important tool that can be used by your lawyer to convey the value of your case to the insurance company.
10. Don’t settle directly with the insurance company – speak with a lawyer
Sometimes insurance companies will make offers directly to people to settle the injury claim in exchange for a complete release of liability. These offers sometimes are made before the person has even finished their medical treatment and the long term effects of the injury or value of the claim cant be known. Don’t be a victim a second time. A consultation and case evaluation with an experienced injury lawyer is free.