ADVICE ON WHAT TO DO AFTER YOU HAVE A CAR ACCIDENT:
Have you or someone you know suffered a car accident. At some point in time in almost everyone's life they will have to deal with a car accident. Hopefully the car accident is not serious and no major loss is suffered. Unfortunately, there are serious car accidents and major losses are at issue. Whether the car accident is major or just a minor incident, certain matters need to be considered and documented to protect an injured party's rights.
At the time of the car accident a person is dazed and obviously not thinking straight. However,decisions made at this critical moment can determine the outcome of major damage issues in the future. It would be a good idea for everyone to keep a checklist in their glove compartment in the event an unfortunate car accident occurs. Once the emergency calls have been made what should a car accident victim do during these critical moments. As you are sitting there and waiting on the medical teams and police, what comments are critical and what information is going to be pertinent in the future.
The natural concern is to be concerned about the physical well-being of everyone involved in the car accident and that is very important. However, if you have suffered a injury, remember everything you say or do could affect your ability to recover a fair settlement or judgment in the future. Think before you speak and remember that everything you say will be become relevant many times over in the future. If you are a person who wants to appear noble and downplay your injuries, and if a major injury manifest itself later, your statements and actions at the scene of the accident will be critical if you later assert a claim for significant injuries as a result of the car accident. Keep in mind that after an accident your adrenalin is pumping and you may not have a true understanding of your injuries until hours or maybe days after the accident.
If you are in a car accident critical things need to be documented at every car accident scene. If possible be sure to get the name, address, place of employment and several phone numbers of all witnesses. Write down the witnesses account of the accident and have them date and sign the written account. Your statement at the scene of the car accident will have to be made to a police officer and/or a medical attendant. Remember that these statements are all recorded in writing and later at trial or when the other party's insurance carrier or the defense lawyer reviews those statements, you will be reminded of what you said many times over. And your statements could be damaging. If the statements about the car accident and your injuries are detrimental to your claim, and it is found that you have contradicted yourself at some point in time, it will damage the credibility of your claim in the future..
Keep in mind. The official or medical personnel transcribing your statement can make mistakes. With this in mind make sure that the transcribers (police, doctors,insurance adjusters, etc) are writing done exactly what you say. As stated, if negative or contradictory statements have been recorded, they will be used against you at a later date.
During your recovery period keep a daily diary. Record in detail your trips to the doctor, a visit by a relative or friend to help clean your house, how you really felt on those really bad days,etc. A personal diary is very powerful evidence if the matter goes to trial. Above are a few things to keep in mind if you unfortunately are injured in a car accident. And lastly, do not forget to contact your insurance carrier, even if you are not at fault, and your adjuster can give direction, as can your lawyer. And regardless, your carrier needs to know about the car accident.
As a personal injury lawyer for 25 years I could never change statements my client documented way before trial. If the statements were consistent, reliable and properly documented, my client's case was much easier to present. Hopefully, this article offers some direction if you or someone you know has suffered an unwanted and possibly life changing car accident.D. Burlison,JD
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