When you are involved in a car accident, it’s justifiable to be shaken up because of what has just happened. People in this situation do not always have the foresight to gather the right information, ask the right questions, and respond in the appropriate ways that will be necessary later to pursue a personal injury claim. Although every accident is unique, here are five things to keep in mind if you find yourself injured in a car accident.
Watch What you Say
Regardless of the circumstance, never admit fault. Following the accident, the insurance companies may ask for statements as well as use police reports to assess the accident. In this case, words can hurt you. It’s not uncommon for an individual to feel compelled to apologize to the other driver – even when they are not at fault. This small act of compassion can cause major problems when it comes time to investigate claims related to the accident. Similarly, never get upset, yell, or act belligerently toward others at the accident scene. This too can damage your case. In the event of an accident, keep your mouth closed and your eyes open.
Know Your Friends and Your Enemies
You will work with many different individuals throughout the accident, recovery, and claims process. It’s vital to know who is on your side and who is not. At the scene of the accident, do not speak with the other driver. Anything you say can be misconstrued and used against you during a claims investigation. If police arrive at the scene to investigate, be sure to provide an honest accounting of what happened. Police are trained to be an unbiased third party, but more importantly, this officer will be the one who writes the police report. Following the accident, do not speak with the other driver’s insurance company. If an insurance adjuster calls, do not discuss the case, answer any questions, or agree to give a statement. If you have not done so already, seek an experienced car accident attorney who can represent you.
Details, Details, and More Details
Specifics about the accident are vital in determining fault and seeking compensation for injuries. A police report provides some information, but the more information you have, the better. When at the scene, take note of anything that your attorney may find helpful in determining what may have contributed to the accident. For example:
- Tire marks on the road.
- Road signage – were signs and road markings obstructed from view in any way?
- The positions of vehicles following the impact.
- The behavior of the other driver – does he appear to be intoxicated or under the influence of a substance?
- Who else may have witnessed the accident.
The best way to faithfully preserve any evidence at the scene is to take pictures. You are well within your right to pull out your phone and take pictures immediately following an accident. They may later uncover valuable details that will help you get the compensation you deserve.
Seek Medical Attention
When in an accident, your body releases adrenaline. While this helps get you through a scary situation, it also tends to temporarily mask painful injuries. This is why it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately following a car accident – even if you feel fine. Not only will this provide additional documentation, but it will make sure that no serious injuries go overlooked. You do not want insurance companies to think you have not actually been hurt. Don’t try to “tough it out” – Your health is far too important.
Being injured in a car accident can be stressful and traumatizing. Knowing what to do immediately following the accident will help ease some of this stress; the same is true for hiring an attorney who is experienced in car accidents injuries. If you have been injured in a car accident in the Rochester, Minnesota area, we can help. Contact us to schedule a consultation.