The actions you take after your accident have the potential to shape your financial future. Make the wrong decision and you will not receive the amount of compensation you expect or possibly any compensation at all. Follow these tips to protect your financial well-being after this unfortunate event.
Do not Admit Fault for the Accident
The worst thing you can do after an auto accident or any other accident is admit fault. Even if you suspect you might have been partially at-fault, do not admit it. Do not apologize. Simply stating you are sorry for the accident can be enough evidence to show you are partially or completely at-fault for the accident.
Do not Come to an Agreement With the Other Driver
This is not a time to negotiate. This is a time to contact the police and insurance providers. If the other driver attempts to negotiate an agreement in order to prevent the police or insurance companies from getting involved, do not give in! The other driver could be a scam artist, driving without insurance or have an outstanding warrant. Even if the offer seems lucrative, there is a chance the driver will provide you with phony contact information and you will never see him or her again.
Do not Leave Your Vehicle on a Busy Road
Though it is prudent to document the accident scene, doing so will prove impossible if the accident occurred on a busy street or highway. Move your vehicle over to the side of the road or another area out of harm’s way. Once both vehicles are safely pulled over to the side, you and the other driver can share information.
Obtain Medical Treatment
The most important thing you can do after your car accident is obtain medical treatment. If necessary, dial 911 for emergency assistance. Even if you do not feel pain in the moments after the accident, you should still visit with the doctor. This visit gives the doctor the opportunity to document your injuries and pain in-depth. Medical records and assessments will go a long way in proving your injuries, pain, suffering, lost wages and other losses really are the direct result of the accident.
Document the Accident
If it is safe to leave the vehicles in their current positions on the road, take some pictures of the accident scene with your smartphone. If you do not have a smartphone or digital camera, try to draw a picture of the accident. Document the damage to the vehicles as well as any other property damaged during the accident.
Look for Witnesses
Take a look around the accident scene. Do you see anyone in the vicinity of the accident who might have witnessed the collision? Perhaps there is a camera posted at an intersection near the accident that caught some or all of the drama on tape. If you spot any potential witnesses, take down their contact information.
Contact the Police
Reach out to the police to request an officer’s presence at the accident scene. The police officer will create an official police report that details the accident. This report might help establish the other driver’s fault. The police officer should also take down the contact information and statements from witnesses.
Contact an Attorney
You need a savvy personal injury attorney on your side to obtain the compensation you need for related medical costs, ongoing care, loss of use of a body part and lost wages. Your attorney will also advocate for compensation for your pain and suffering. If you do not link up with an attorney, the insurance company will almost surely get you to sign off on an egregiously low settlement offer. You need an experienced personal injury attorney in your corner to gather evidence, develop a legal strategy, represent you in and out of a court of law. Perhaps most importantly, your attorney’s years of experience will ameliorate the settlement negotiation process to ensure you are provided with compensation that is proportional to your losses.
If you’ve been involved in an accident, contact Wright, Pichon & Gray as soon as possible.