WHAT INFORMATION SHOULD I OBTAIN?
- The full names of the drivers of all of the vehicles involved;
- The driver’s license numbers and addresses of all of the drivers;
- If any of the drivers appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, notify police or other emergency personnel immediately;
- The full names and addresses of any passengers in any of the vehicles;
- The full names and addresses of any pedestrians or other parties involved; and,
- The full name, address, and phone number of any witnesses to the accident.
In addition, you should make observations and record notes about the following:
- Did any person involved in the accident report any personal injury shortly after the accident?
- Was medical assistance rendered at the scene of the accident?
- What personal injury did the injured person report? Did anyone say “I’m not hurt”?
- What was the actual location of the accident?
- In what direction were the vehicles traveling just prior to the accident?
- At what time of day did the accident occur?
- What were the weather conditions at the time of the accident?
- Was there anything “wrong” with the vehicles before the accident, such as a broken headlight or brake light?
- Was there any damage to the vehicles as a result of the accident? What parts of the vehicle were damaged?
- Who are the registered owners of the vehicles (names and addresses)?
- Were all vehicles involved in the accident insured? What are the names of the insurance companies and the policy numbers?
- Did any of the vehicles need to be towed from the scene of the accident?
- How did the accident occur?
- Did anyone accept responsibility for the accident, or make a comment such as “It was my fault, I am sorry. I was speeding / not paying attention / not wearing my glasses / distracted / tired / late for work / in a hurry / my coffee had just spilled / I should have seen you but I was on my cell phone / my eyesight isn’t what it used to be after dark, etc”?
- Did the police come? If so, did they issue anyone a ticket? Which officers were present? What are their names and badge numbers?
- Were any of the drivers involved driving while working, or driving a company-owned vehicle?
SHOULD I CALL THE POLICE?
Even in minor accidents, resist the temptation to “keep things simple” by “settling up” with the other driver on the spot. You should make sure that you have not suffered injuries which do not develop symptoms until days or even weeks after the accident, and you should always consult with your doctor and an experienced attorney to make sure that you are aware of all of the avenues of recovery available to you.
WHEN SHOULD I CONTACT AN ATTORNEY?
Contact Hamstead, Williams & Shook P.L.L.C. at 888-298-2529 for a free consultation regarding your auto accident case.
SHOULD I CONTACT MY OWN INSURANCE COMPANY?
SHOULD I GO TO THE DOCTOR?
It is also important that you get medical attention if you feel any pain or discomfort. Many people hope that their pain will go away on its own and wait for several weeks before finally succumbing and going to the doctor. Waiting to get treatment is not only not good for your health — it will hurt your chances of obtaining an appropriate settlement for your injuries, since there will be no medical record of your injury at the time of the accident. Seeing a doctor following the accident will insure a preliminary diagnosis and perhaps minimize the discomfort and future treatment you may need later.
Follow the doctor’s advice to the letter and never miss a doctor’s appointment. Do not substitute your judgment for that of an experienced medical professional. If you do, it will be used against you in court.
If you have been in a serious accident, chances are that someone has already made a record of what has happened to you. There already is a police report, an on-the-job worker’s compensation report, or the like. If your condition required immediate medical care, hospital records will confirm your injuries. Make sure you promptly follow-up with treatment from your regular doctor or an appropriate specialist following hospitalization.
IS THERE ANYTHING SPECIAL I SHOULD TELL MY DOCTORS?
Even if you feel it is “no big thing” or not related to your accident, you still should recite all of your complaints. A dry mouth, a light headache, and a little dizziness may be evidence of something more serious. Anything that is out of the ordinary is a symptom and should be reported to assist your doctor in making an informed diagnosis.
For example, a patient who has very slight tingling in the fourth and fifth fingers and a minor stiffness in the neck, may not report the tingling sensation, which could be the sign of major disruption to a cervical disk. If that disk becomes a complete rupture that requires major surgery, it would have been far better to have had the initial medical diagnosis at the time of the accident in order to prove when the onset of the fracture to the outer wall of the disk occurred. Otherwise, the defense will argue that it could have occurred picking up a bag of groceries three weeks after the accident.
DO I NEED TO TAKE PICTURES OF THE ACCIDENT SCENE?
A good quality camera is obviously preferable, but even a small disposable camera is better than nothing, and they are normally widely available in convenience stores and gas stations if you do not have one in your vehicle. Additionally, you should IMMEDIATELY have the photographs developed by a competent film developer.
If you are unable to take photographs, contact our office immediately at 888-298-2529 . At Hamstead, Williams & Shook P.L.L.C., we work with investigators and other expert personnel who often can rush to the scene of any serious accident and preserve and document valuable evidence before it is lost.
DO I HAVE TO TAKE PHOTOS RIGHT AWAY OR CAN I WAIT?
If you are unable to take photographs, contact our office immediately at 888-298-2529. At Hamstead, Williams & Shook P.L.L.C., we work with investigators and other expert personnel who often can rush to the scene of any serious accident and preserve and document valuable evidence before it is lost.
WHAT ABOUT PRESERVING OTHER EVIDENCE BESIDES PHOTOS?
If the evidence is removed to another location, it is important to put everyone on notice by certified mail, including owners, tow operators, wrecking yards, police impounds, and the like, that they must take every step to preserve important evidence, and the failure to do so will subject them to being sued for allowing evidence to be destroyed. In some cases, we are required to go to court quickly to get a restraining order and preliminary injunction in order to avoid alterations or destructive handling and testing of potentially incriminating evidence.
If you are unable to retain any piece of evidence associated with the accident, contact our office immediately at 888-298-2529 . At Hamstead, Williams & Shook P.L.L.C., we work with investigators and other expert personnel who often can rush to the scene of any serious accident and preserve and document valuable evidence before it is lost.
SHOULD I TALK TO THE OTHER DRIVER’S INSURANCE COMPANY? WHAT IF THEY CALL ME?
Claims adjusters are hired because they sound good over the telephone, but they are well trained by insurance company lawyers to ask questions in a manner designed to hurt your case and help theirs. You cannot beat experts at their own game. Do not try it. Simply say, “Thank you for calling. I am not prepared to discuss this matter with you at this time.”
You should seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney, who can determine the best way to proceed with the adverse insurance company. Contact Hamstead, Williams & Shook P.L.L.C. now at 888-298-2529 for a free consultation regarding your auto accident case.
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- Automobile Damage FAQ
- Auto Insurance Coverage
- Auto Accident Injury Data
- Passenger Injuries
- Pedestrian Injuries
- What To Do After an Auto Accident
- Seatbelt Issues
In all matters involving personal injury it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and file a lawsuit prior to the deadline imposed by the Statute of Limitations. If you or a loved one is a victim of personal injuries, call Hamstead, Williams & Shook P.L.L.C. now at 888 – 298 – 2529. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a Contingent Fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don’t delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.