What to Do If You’re Involved in a Car Accident

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What to Do If You’re Involved in a Car Accident

Being involved in a car accident can be terrifying and traumatic. While it’s often difficult to be logical in a situation that involves heightened emotions, there are certain things you can do at the scene of an accident that can help your case if you have to go to court. Of course, any time someone is seriously injured, you should tend to the injuries first. However, once you have a moment and all the proper authorities have been contacted, there are several things you should do to help establish the facts of the accident, both at the scene and in the following days. Relying on your memory isn’t the best idea, and your memory will be called into question in court. Having the proof to back up your story can make or break your personal injury case.

Take Photos

Photograph everything you can. From pictures of damage, both to your vehicle and the other vehicles involved, pictures of signs on the road, and photos that indicate the weather conditions are all great ideas. You can also establish the distance between vehicles after the accident occurred, the time of day, and other important factors. Here are a few things you should definitely snap some pictures of when you’re at the scene of the accident.

●     Your vehicle

●     The other vehicles involved

●     Any road signs or traffic signals, especially if they’re hidden or not visible from the road

●     Damage to property or surrounding structures, like guardrails

●     Absence of guardrails

●     The weather

●     Something that establishes time of day

●     Injuries

●     Number of emergency vehicles on the scene

●     Any and all damage to persons or property

●     Skid marks and road marks that happened during the accident

●     Items blocking the road or conditions that caused the roads to be dangerous

Call the Authorities

Everything is easier to back up when you have police reports and EMT records to prove your claims. You’re allowed to ask for copies of any police reports taken at the scene, as well. It’s important that you call the authorities to the scene, even if you think it’s minor. You’ll have a hard time winning any case you might bring in court without adequate documentation, and your personal injury attorney will have a very difficult time substantiating your claims without reports.

See a Doctor

You should have an EMT look at you if an ambulance had to be called, but you also want to make sure you go see a doctor after your accident. If you don’t have insurance or you don’t have a doctor you see regularly, even going to an urgent care facility can be helpful. Let them know what happened and anywhere you feel pain. Anything a doctor can verify and substantiate on paper will help to make your case, as well. Any follow-up visits you make to take care of long-lasting effects should be documented, as well.

Document Bruising

Bruises might not be immediately evident at the scene of the accident. It can take hours to even a day or so for certain bruises to materialize. So, if you know you were hit or suspect bruises in certain areas, make sure to take photographs of those bruises once they develop so you can add that to your evidence file, as well. Keep in mind that not all bruising is external, either. If you’re experiencing a great deal of pain in an area that doesn’t seem to show any external bruising, go see a doctor to make sure you don’t have internal bruising or bleeding.

Insurance Information

It’s very important for you to document the insurance information of you and anyone else who was in your car or at the scene. Most people understand that exchanging insurance information is just part of the process when an accident occurs. If certain parties are too injured to offer that information right away, you can still request that information through your insurance company later. At least try to get the first and last names of everyone involved.

Financial Expenditures

If you spent money on fixing your vehicle, going to the doctor’s, buying medication, or anything else that was a direct result of the accident, be sure to document that, as well. You also want to document money you didn’t earn as a result of your accident. For instance, if you couldn’t go to work because of your injuries and you lost wages, those lost wages can be included in the amount you’re owed if your personal injury attorney argues for compensation.

Names, dates, weather conditions, sign visibility, road conditions, time of day, property damage, financial expenditures, and physical injuries are all things that you want to gather information on and keep tabs on after an accident. The most important task at the scene of an accident is to make sure everyone is okay. After that, you can start tending to some of these issues and gathering the information you need. Your personal injury attorney can help you fight for your rights in court so you get the compensation you deserve.

 

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