What to Do If You Were in an Injury Accident

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It is important that you take care of certain issues at a collision scene or soon afterward.

Don’t Leave
Unless you have injuries that require you be transported don’t leave the scene of an injury collision.   If you leave the scene of an accident you can face criminal penalties for being a “hit-and-run” driver. Wait for the police.

Make Sure the People Are OK:
Check on yourself, your passengers and all others first thing.  If EMTs are needed call 911.  If a person is unconscious or complains of neck or back pain, don’t move them.  Unless the person is near a pool of gasoline that you fear may ignite or some similar immediate danger.  If that is the case, stabilize the neck and move them as steadily and slowly as possible while supporting their neck and back. The less , the better.

Call the Police:
If the accident involves property damage or more than $1500, physical injury, or death, you must call the police.  Get the police report number.

Exchange Information
Get the names, phone numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance company and policy numbers if possible.

Responsibility
There are many who advise people to not apologize or admit anything  at the scene.  We disagree with that view.  In the long run, if you made a mistake i.e. ran a red light or whatever, you will feel better just admitting it and taking personal responsibility.  Its the right thing to do. BUT, and its a big but, If you don’t know what happened or are unsure then the advice to not admit anything is correct.  Sometimes the situation is chaotic and it might not be evident who was at fault in causing the collision.  Don’t admit responsibility unintentionally or unnecessarily but be a human being too.

Talk to Witnesses
Get their names, telephone numbers or addresses, of witnesses if you can. Jot down what they say and, if they agree, simply get their name and phone number so that you or your attorney can contact them.

Inform Your Insurance Company
As soon as possible, tell your insurance company that you have been involved in an accident.   Its your insurance company that has some duties to you.  Cooperate with your insurance company and tell them the truth about what happened and the extent of your injuries.  Dont understate your injuries–or exaggerate them   Most of the time it takes at least a day or two to realize what problems are showing up.  If the insurance company determines  you have lied to them about anything, you can have real problems later.

Watch Out For the Other Drivers’  Insurance Company
Inevitably The Other Insurance company will want to take your statement.  Recognize that they are not there to help you no matter how they act.  They are there to a pay as a little money as possible and help the other driver involved.  The number one thing the other insurance company wants is to get information that it can use against yo.  We generally recommend not talking to the other insurance company until you have a lawyer representing you.

Keep Record of your Medical Care
Keep a record of all the facilities, doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, or other medical professionals that you go to for care.  Keeping a diary list  of this data will help prepare appropriate summaries for your insurer and your attorney.

Take Pictures
Take pictures of all damage to your car– at the scene if possible.   If you have visible injuries–cuts scrapes bruises, etc– take pictures of those injuries as well. All of this is useful to you and your attorney.

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