Friday, June 24, 2011

I Was Involved In An Automobile Accident, What Should I Do?

If you have been involved in an automobile accident, here are some basic steps to follow:
1. See if you or your passengers are bleeding or require immediate medical attention;  If so, contact 911.
2. Pull your car over to the side of the roadway, if possible.
3. Call the Police if anyone is injured and/or if there is property damage to either vehicle.  Do not leave the scene until a police officer arrives or tells you that they will not be coming to the scene.
4. Identify who hit your vehicle and exchange information.  
5. Have the person, who hit your vehicle write on a piece of paper that it was their fault (too often, after leaving the scene, the person, who hits your vehicle changes their story).   NOTE: If you are at fault, do not apologize or make a statement against your interest.   Just see how the other person is doing physically and be prepared to contact the paramedics, if their injuries require immediate care.
6. Identify any witnesses (obtain their names, telephone numbers and addresses).
7. Take photos on your cell phone of the damage to the vehicles, the accident scene, and the area of injury, if bleeding or bruising is immediate.
8. Go to your primary care physician, if you do not have immediate injuries, just to get checked out.
9. File a police report, assuming the police did not show up to the scene and take statements.
10. Contact your insurance agent and make a claim.  Provide information as to the driver that caused the accident.
11. Begin keeping track of your symptoms and your medical treatment (Within hours after the accident, if you have been injured, you should begin to experience pain, discomfort, muscle stiffness, spasms, anxiety or any combination) (keep track of mileage and any out of pocket medical expenses, such as co-payments to health care providers, as well as pharmacy bills)
12. Attendant Care and Housekeeping (keep track of tasks that you are unable to perform, for which a family members or friends provide.  Jot down the approximate hours you receive this attendant care and/or housekeeping services each and every day).
13. Do not provide recorded statements, unless your insurance policy requires you to do so. If you are required to provide one, request a copy of the recording, along with a transcription of the statement, as a condition for providing one.
14. Hire a Lawyer.  Do not accept a settlement without the advice of legal counsel.   Insurance carriers have lawyers, who advise them about your case.  Be on equal footing and hire a lawyer of your own.  Lawyers charge a percentage of your bodily injury recovery.  Remember, his or her contingency fee is negotiable. 
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Legal disclaimer: Please be advised that the advice provided does not create any attorney/client relationship; that due to the various state laws that the information provided is a general overview of work comp law, which might not be applicable to you, based upon the laws of your state. We will not file anything on your behalf nor protect any statute of limitations which might arise and recommend that you IMMEDIATELY consult legal counsel for advice.