The scene of an accident, regardless of where it takes place can be a traumatic and chaotic environment. It’s easy to get lost in the moment and not take the right approach when faced with a stressful situation. However, not keeping a cool head and failing to take proper measures at the scene may be the difference in a favorable judgment down the road. Of course your immediate health comes first, but if you are physically able to follow the below steps you will be much more likely to maintain your financial health.
Who You Gonna Call?
Whether it’s a car accident or a slip and fall, if you are injured by someone else’s fault or negligence you need to report the incident. If it’s a car accident, that means getting the police to the scene as quickly as possible. Likely others who weren’t involved witnessed the accident and their statement could play a big role in the claims process. In today’s world of hustle and run, a witness may not be able to hang around long after the accident. Standing around with the other party contemplating whether or not to call the police wastes valuable time. If you sustain an injury in a non-auto accident, it’s not the time to play doctor on WebMD. You need to be examined by an EMT or physician right away. Not all pain will be felt immediately after the accident as your body has a natural adrenaline rush in a stressful situation. Having the appropriate authorities on the scene in a timely manner is critically important regardless of the type of accident.
Minor in Photography
Aside from getting emergency personnel to the scene to document the event, taking pictures of the scene might be the most important action you can take. If you are unable to take them yourself, requesting a friend, family member, or bystander to take them for you. In a car accident you should take pictures of the damage to your car, the other party’s car or property, as well as the road conditions. If you’re involved in a different type of accident, getting pictures of the environment, your injury, and of any other relevant information should help in your case should the event reach that point.
You’ll want to get as much relevant information from the other party such as their name, phone number, and insurance company. When gathering this information, keep the interaction to a minimum and do not discuss the accident. If the authorities are on the way, they can serve this function and it is wise to let them. This will keep you from disclosing any unnecessary information. DO NOT ADMIT FAULT to anyone! Answer any questions the police have but refrain from any statement that might hurt you in your attempt at restitution. You will also want to get the name and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident.
Who Else You Gonna Call?
The police and emergency personnel aren’t the only people you should call after an accident. You’ll want to inform your insurance company if it was an auto accident. In some instances, determining the fault of an accident can be difficult for the police. When this is the case, often times getting to your insurance company to begin the claims process as fast as possible makes a big difference. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your company will always fight for you. You need to be the one who calls their insurance provider first! The insurance company may be better served to settle the other party’s claim even if you weren’t found at fault. This limits their loss and likely means higher insurance premiums for you with a recent claim filed against you on your record.
The other phone call you should make just to be on the safe side is to your attorney. Right after an accident it may seem like everybody will take responsibility for their part in the incident. Afterwards however, these feelings can change and most people feel a lot more at ease knowing they have an additional resource that is knowledgeable on the judicial system and the settlement process. The above steps combined with getting a professional on the job immediately after an accident should better prepare in the event your accident becomes a legal issue.
Amit Gangrade is from Orlando, Florida. He is a recent alumn from the University of Florida, where he studied anthropology and Spanish, and will be attending law school at Emory University in the fall of 2014. In the meantime, Amit is a professional content writer for www.Heil-Law.com.