Personal Injury - After the
"Personal Injury" is physical
damage to your body. If you are like most Americans, you
will probably be involved in an auto accident at some time in your
life. Fortunately, few of us
are routinely involved in such accidents, but that means that most
people are not sure what to do or how to handle themselves when an automobile
accident does happen.
These are the recommended steps to
take if you have been in an automobile accident:
If you are injured or if there are
Obtain immediate help by calling
9-1-1 or get someone to make that call for you. Regardless
of the situation or who may be at fault, such matters are not
relevant when serious injury or life is at stake. This
isn't just the right thing to do, it's the law and you could
find yourself in trouble if you ignore human health or safety
for any reason.
If there are no immediate health or
- Report the accident to the
police immediately and do not leave the scene of the
accident. It doesn't matter if there was any material
damage to either vehicle, whose fault it was, or if you are in a
hurry. If you
leave the scene of the accident without report the accident to
the police, you leave your fate in the hands of the other driver
and you could be in violation of the law.
- Be nice! Don't make
accusations or threats. The accident has already happened and there is
nothing that will change that including trying to place blame or
getting nasty. Doing so could actually backfire on you and
in cases where there is some doubt regarding the specific
circumstances, a reporting police officer that doesn't like you
could easily give the benefit of that doubt to the other person.
- Obtain the names, addresses and
phone numbers of all drivers involved in the car accident.
Obtain each driver's car insurance company's name and policy
number. Also, the telephone number of the insurance company
would be helpful. Most police officers will collect this
information as part of the police report, but having your own
copy won't hurt.
- Cooperate with the police in
preparing an accident report. This is important.
Directly answer the officer's questions, but don't elaborate and
keep emotion out of it. You never know how some statements
may be taken and changing the accident report later will be difficult
if not impossible.
- Even if you are quite sure that
the accident was your fault, it is never wise to say so.
You may not know all the facts. If the other driver is
intoxicated or had mechanical trouble, these facts may have
contributed to the accident.
- Photograph the exterior and
interior of the vehicles involved in the accident. This
may be difficult to do with the other vehicle if you don't have
a camera handy at the time of the accident. If the other
vehicle will be towed away, this information can be gotten from
the police officer and you can go to the tow site to take those
pictures. Pictures can be of extreme advantage if the
other party tries to claim damage or additional injury that
- If you are having any pain, be
sure to see a physician without delay. Documenting your injuries
will be important in any insurance settlement, whether it is
with your insurance company or that of the other driver.
- Photograph your injuries. The
bruises and cuts may heal; however, the tissue beneath the skin
may not completely heal. Photographs of your bruises and cuts
will support the magnitude of the injury.
- Get legal advice before filling
out insurance documents or giving recorded statements to any
insurance company (even your own insurance company) or meeting
with any insurance company representative.
- Gather all automobile insurance
policies in your household for evaluation by an attorney. You
may be entitled to insurance coverage for a separate insurance
- Get legal advice before signing
any check or document from any insurance company.
These pages are created to inform and educate the public only.
They are not and should not be considered legal opinions or
advice. You do not and cannot have any client-attorney
relationship with SeniorMag or any of its employees. You
should not act upon legal advice found on SeniorMag and are advised
to seek professional counsel before taking any action based upon
information found on this site.