When you get in an accident, it can seem like the whole world is upside
down. There’s a few things though you can do to help down the road,
should you need medical treatment or to get a lawyer.
1. Is Everyone OK?
Nothing should be more important to you than your health and the health
of those who may be in the vehicle with you. Check to ensure that everyone
is OK. If someone appears to be injured, call an ambulance immediately.
Auto-accident injuries often involve trauma and should be addressed as
quickly as possible.
It’s important to remember that while you may feel fine, only a health-care
professional is capable of diagnosing the extent of an injury.
2. Have you taken pictures?
When something goes wrong suddenly, it’s normal to feel a rush of
adrenaline. That can make it hard to accurately examine the sequence of
events surrounding and leading up to an accident. Fortunately, modern
cell-phones generally have sophisticated cameras–many of which also
record GPS information as to where a photo was taken.
Take pictures of everything.
The more information you can gather about the circumstances of an accident,
the easier time you (or your lawyer) will have when submitting a claim
to the insurance company of the responsible party.
3. Are there any witnesses?
In the same way it’s important to document the physical conditions
of the scene of an accident, keeping track of people who may have seen
what happened can prove to be quite helpful later on.
Many people are happy to assist a motorist in trouble. Many people stop
when they witness an accident. Make sure that you (or the police officer
on the scene) write down the name(s) and phone number(s) of anyone who
may have witnessed the accident.
4. Are the police on their way?
You may have noticed a large portion of my advice involves ensuring that
you capture as accurately as possible what happened. A community safety
or police officer can assist you in filing a report and will often perform
an investigation as to the cause of the accident. Your insurance company
will also perform an investigation–regardless of whether or not
you (or the other party) call the police.
The insurance adjustors who will become involved in the process of investigating
the accident have a direct financial interest in mitigating the cost of
rectifying the errors that occurred – they make more money when
they underpay claims.
It often proves quite helpful to compare an officer’s initial report
to the later findings of an insurance company.
The officer has had the benefit of investigating the scene shortly after
the accident and is likely to capture information an insurance adjustor may miss.
5. Have you called a personal injury attorney?
It’s easy to underestimate how complicated filing a claim with an
insurance company can be. From examining your summary of benefits to helping
you navigate a claim denial appeal, a personal injury lawyer can be your
best friend if you’ve been in accident.
Insurance companies have been known to start trying to ‘bang down
the door’ the second they get wind of you getting into an accident.
They have lawyers, and you should have one too.