So often, we’re asked what someone should do – or should’ve done – at the scene of an accident. But the scene of an accident can be incredibly overwhelming. From dealing with the other involved party(-ies), first responders, insurance adjusters, onlookers, witnesses and more, it’s all too easy to make a misstep when the terrain is so unfamiliar and disorienting. And this is especially true if you have been injured in an accident.
Here, we’ve put together an easy dos-and-don’ts reference guide should you or someone you know ever have to deal with the chaos that follows an accident.
Do Get Witness Information. Locate any potential witnesses to your accident and get their names and contact information.
Do Take Pictures. If you have a camera available, take photographs of the accident scene from different angles and viewpoints, and anything else that may prove relevant.
Do Call The Police. No matter how ‘small’ the accident, if you have been injured, you need to call the police.
Do Get A Copy Of The Police Report. Law enforcement officers will prepare an incident report that details what happened. Get a copy of any report, read it and bring any inaccuracies to the attention of your attorney and insurance adjuster.
Do Watch What You Say To The Adjuster. The insurance adjuster for the other side will try to get you to make statements and record your conversation too, so seek legal advice before you make any statements.
Do Write Everything Down. Keep a daily diary of your activities and the effects that the accident and your injuries are having on you. Document your medical care, including treatment dates and any medications taken.
Do Save Important Documents. Each of these documents should be kept together in a safe place:
|● Medical bills||● Police reports|
|● Documents from doctors and hospitals||● Your daily diary of activities and injuries|
|● Letters from individuals responsible for your injury||● Lost wages|
|● Letters from insurance companies||● Incidental costs (ex. travel to health care providers)|
|● Correspondence from witnesses||● Cost(s) of medication|
|● Rental car expenses||● Witness statements|
Don’t Admit Fault. Never admit fault or liability for an accident – even if you feel you were responsible– as your remorse for an accident may not coincide with the legal definition of fault.
Do Cooperate With Law Enforcement. Cooperate with law enforcement, giving them a complete and accurate account of what happened. Never admit fault, and don’t exaggerate.
Don’t Sign Anything. Insurance adjusters will often attempt to have you sign releases of liability but you should never sign anything without talking to a lawyer first.
Don’t Discuss Your Case. Other than conversations with your attorney, any communications with third parties about your case may be the subject of subpoena in legal proceedings.
Don’t Try to Negotiate with an Insurance Company Or At-Fault Party. Often, an insurance company will refuse to pay the full value of your case until an attorney is involved who will thoroughly evaluate the responsibility of those who have injured you and the extent of your past and future damages.
Do – of course – Seek Legal Advice. Your best protection and ally is an experienced accident attorney. In fact, after calling the police and an emergency contact, your next call should be to an attorney you can trust.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, know you’re not alone. Let the experienced personal injury attorneys at Anton Castro Law help you navigate the pitfalls of personal injury to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Call John Castro anytime – day or night – for an experienced Tampa personal injury attorney dedicated to ‘Representing Your Best Interests.’