Accidents Happen: Being Prepared Can Make or Break Your Case

Published on March 9th, 2020

Many of us take for granted safely getting from point A to point B in our vehicles. In reality, every time you’re traveling in a car, you are at risk of getting into an accident and being prepared can make all of the difference in the outcome of both your safety and the case itself. 

Peter Wachowski and his legal team at Bellas & Wachowski Attorneys at Law are here to guide you through every step of the process in the event that you get into an accident. The following offers some of the important things to remember at the scene of the accident and immediately following:

At the Scene of the Accident

  • Check for injuries and seek necessary medical attention immediately. Regardless of who was at-fault, always put the medical needs of yourself and anyone else in the accident first. If necessary, you can call 911 for professional medical assistance at the scene of the accident. If the paramedics want to take you to the hospital for additional attention, it’s in your best interest to go – not only for your health but your case as well. Refusing could jeopardize the seriousness of your injuries and the value of your case.  
  • Document the scene of the accident. Use your cell phone to take photos of the scene including vehicle(s) involved, the damage that occurred as a result of the accident, relevant nearby road signs, skid marks, damage to the surrounding area. We also recommend writing down what happened so you can recall the events clearly at a later date as you will need to review the events throughout the case including insurance adjusters.
  • Collect the other driver’s name and address and insurance company name and policy information. If possible also get the names, contact information and statements from any witnesses at the scene of the accident. While witnesses are not legally required to provide any information, their statement can provide the jury with an unbiased and credible accounting of what happened.
  • Don’t give a statement. Once a police officer has arrived at the scene of the accident, it’s important that you don’t give a statement before consulting with a car accident attorney. Anything you say could ultimately be held against you in court and reduce your case compensation. 
  • Write down the name, badge number of the police officer who responds to your crash and prepares the accident report. (Make sure to get the report number as you’ll want to request a copy of the report within a few days of the accident). 

Seek Medical Attention After Leaving the Accident 

It’s highly recommended to see a doctor right away after a car accident, no matter how minor it is. After the accident, you will experience an adrenaline rush that can block pain – once the rush begins to wear off, you may feel the impact of the accident. In addition to making sure that your health is not at risk, seeking medical care after a car accident is one of the most credible ways to receive full compensation for all of your damages. Seeing a physician will start the required documentation for injuries as a result of the accident (how they were sustained, treated, and overall prognosis). Without an exam and documentation or even waiting for a period of time can give the insurance adjuster reasons to argue that your injuries were not as serious as you claimed or that the injuries were the result of something other than the actual accident.

Report Accident to Insurance Companies/File Claim

It’s in your best interest to report the accident to your insurer as soon as possible. While you may not be required by law to report your accident to your auto insurance provider, your policy likely requires it. You may want to speak to your accident attorney before contacting your insurance company as they may ask you to provide a statement. Be careful. Do not admit or assign fault. Do not characterize your injuries. Stick to the facts. Even your own insurance company may try to portray your accident and injuries as less serious than they are in order to support paying a smaller settlement of a claim you file. 

Next, notify the at-fault driver’s insurance company of the accident and file a claim. Again, you should consult with an auto accident attorney before contacting the insurance company so that you understand your rights when it comes to answering the insurance adjuster’s questions.

Peter Wachowski and his legal team at Bellas & Wachowski Attorneys at Law, are committed to helping personal injury victims fully recover damages from auto accidents. Contact us today for a free consultation.

 

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