What To Do After An Accident?
Being involved in an accident can be overwhelming. If you are the victim of an accident such as auto action, dog bite, or slip and fall, you should be aware of your rights. Knowing what to do after an accident can make a big difference in getting the compensation you deserve for injuries and damages to your property. Below are some tips on what to after a personal injury accident.
The first thing to do is check on injuries and then call an ambulance if medical assistance is needed – whether for yourself or other individuals involved in the accident. Once help has arrived, you should gather as much evidence as possible, such as:
Photos and videos of the scene
- Use your phone to record the position of cars, the wet floor of a grocery store, injuries sustained from a dog bite, etc. These images can help prove who was actually at fault.
- Physical evidence can also provide answers as to why the accident happened in the first place and indicate negligence. This includes items such as a broken bike, damaged/ripped clothing, or a broken leash.
- Getting an account of what actually happened from independent, third party sources that have nothing to gain weighs more favorably with a judge or insurance company compared to statements from friends and family. Approach people who are standing around and politely ask if they saw the accident and would be willing to give you a statement. Write down their names and phone numbers, as you will likely need to pass their information along to your attorney.
Keep Detailed Records
While you may hope to settle and receive compensation for your injuries quickly, there is always a chance your case ends up in court. If this happens, you’ll need to show how you came up with the compensation number you are asking for. Keep records of the following:
Police and Emergency Room documents
- No matter how big or small the accident, it is best to call the police in order to obtain an official police report. This report usually contains the officer’s assessment of who was at fault. Additionally, if you feel unwell in any way after an accident, it is best to go to the ER right away or the next day at the very latest. If you wait longer, the other party can question the cause of your injuries. But the police report and records from the emergency room will help prove that your injuries where caused by events related to the accident.
Medical Treatment and expenses
- Your injuries may require more than one doctor visit and as time goes on, expenses can add up. Keep a file of all emails, procedures, medications, and payments associated with the accident.
Receipts for fixing your property
- In addition to pictures of the damages to your property, keep the receipts of all payments you have made to fix it.
Employer documentation that show lost wages
- If the accident is bad enough and costs you time away from work, get documents from your HR department to prove how much you normally make versus how much pay you missed out on due to staying home to recover.
What Not To Do After an Accident
Do not admit fault in anyway
- While you can ask about the condition of individuals to determine whether or not to call an ambulance, stop short of saying sorry, admitting you didn’t see them coming, or blaming them. Anything you say at the scene of an accident can be used as evidence to prove you are legally liable.
Don’t feel forced into giving a statement to the insurance company
- A representative from your insurer or the other party’s insurer may call you unexpectedly, causing you to provide a statement that actually damages your case. Instead, let them know you need to reschedule and be sure to consult with your attorney before you speak with them again.
Do not post about the accident on social media – now or later
- Status updates, comments to friends, photos, or videos may be used against you. If the other party has hired an attorney, you can bet they will be looking into your online profiles and will use anything they can find as evidence. Even if you have strict privacy settings, don’t take the chance. Keep details about the accident between you and your attorney.