Here are some important tips to know just in case you are ever in a car accident. Following these tips could end up affecting whether you are compensated for your injuries, so you may want to print this list out and put it in your glove compartment so you will have it if you need it:
1. Stop – No matter how minor the wreck seems, you should always stop. If you fail to stop, you could be charged with a crime.
2. Get witness contact information – If you think that the wreck was the fault of the other driver, it’s important that you locate as many witnesses as you can, preferably independent witnesses you don’t know. Even though the wreck was the other driver’s fault, it should come as no surprise that his or her insurance company may try to blame you. Having independent witnesses on your side will help prevent insurance companies from employing this tactic.
3. Call the police – The police will need to come to the scene to do a report. This report will be important in making your case against the insurance company. If it is possible, you want to try to convince as many witnesses as you can to stay at the scene until the police arrive. For any witnesses unable to stick around, you at least want to get the phone numbers of those witnesses.
4. Take pictures – Most people don’t drive around with cameras, but a good number of people have phones with the ability to take pictures. Take pictures of anything you think may be important. Mostly, you want pictures of all vehicles involved in the wreck. These pictures could be helpful in showing the insurance company or a jury that the wreck was the other driver’s fault or that the wreck was serious enough to cause the injuries you say it caused.
5. Don’t admit anything – You’ve probably heard a police officer on television say “Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.” Well, that’s not just true in criminal cases, but in civil cases also. So, you want to be careful what you say. For example, if you say that you were late to pick up your children, the insurance company may try to use this against you even though it had nothing to do with the wreck and the wreck was not your fault.
6. Seek medical attention if necessary – It is up to you to decide whether to seek medical attention. Obviously, if your injuries are more obvious, you will be taken to the hospital by ambulance. However, just because an ambulance isn’t called doesn’t mean that you aren’t injured. At the end of the day, it is your body and only you get to decide whether medical attention is needed. Remember that pain often takes 24-48 hours to surface following a wreck.
7. Call an attorney – Being injured in a car wreck is a serious event. To you, this is certainly not a game. Unfortunately, to the insurance company, it is a game, and the object of the game is to pay you as little money as possible. That’s how insurance companies turn big profits – by being very good at that game. Your case is going to be assigned to an insurance adjustor and that adjustor probably has hundreds of files on his or her desk and has probably handled tens of thousands of cases in his or her career. So, ask yourself this – Are you comfortable playing a game you’ve never played before against someone who’s played that game tens of thousands of times? What kind of chance would you have to win a game like that? It would be like trying to beat an expert in chess or poker the first time you ever played. You need to hire someone with at least as much knowledge and experience and expertise as the insurance companies have. That’s why, if you take your case seriously, it’s important that you call an attorney.