If you are involved in an auto accident it is very important to avoid getting carried away or emotional – especially if there are injuries. Try to remain composed, alert and in control of your actions. The following list of Do’s and Don’ts will help you make sound decisions in case you are ever involved in a car accident. And remember, if you are injured you can always rely on The Glenn Armentor Law Corporation – where a fair settlement is no accident.
DO’s: What To Do When An Automobile Accident Happens:
1. After impact, new laws may require that you move your vehicle, but only do so if you are without pain and apparent injury. If you are in pain, stunned or dazed, don't attempt to move, remain in place until help arrives. Moving your vehicle is only required on busy thoroughfares at peak traffic hours, and only if you can do so without further injury or aggravation of symptoms.
2. Take Photos, then Move. If you are without pain or apparent injury, exit your vehicle and utilizing a disposable camera that you should carry in your car at all times, document the accident quickly and completely.
3. Take pictures of your vehicle, the other vehicle/vehicles, any and all damage, the other vehicle(s) license plate, the driver of the other vehicle(s), the area, the road conditions and the sky.
4. Have the photos processed and two copies of all photos made, one for you and one for your attorney. Do not give copies to anyone, unless approved by your attorney.
5. Call the police immediately.
-Never be talked out of calling the authorities, because without a police report, you will not be able to prove your case.
-Give the policeman a full, accurate account of what happened. Never admit fault and never exaggerate!
-List for him all symptoms of injury you may be feeling, no matter how slight.
-Try to listen to what the other driver tells the officer and how he responds.
-Ask the officer who will get a citation and for what.
-Cooperate fully and completely with any request made by the authorities, and always be courteous.
6. If in pain, report your condition to the officer and request an ambulance.
7. When the medics arrive, give them a full, accurate report of symptoms.
-Cooperate with their examination and treatment plan.
8. Never attempt to drive if dazed or injured.
9. Call a family member or friend to the scene, to lend assistance and as a witness.
-If possible, ask them to bring a camera to photograph the cars and scenes.
10. Attempt to get names, phone numbers and addresses of any eyewitnesses.
-Give this information to the investigating officer; keep a copy.
11. If symptoms last several hours, go to your family doctor or emergency room.
-Report how the accident occurred and give a full, accurate account of the symptoms, but never exaggerate.
-Submit as necessary to exams, x-rays and advice of the treating doctor.
-If recommended, or if symptoms continue, see a specialist.
-Follow your doctor's recommendations "to the letter".
-Don't be afraid to ask questions of your doctor, to help you understand your injuries and treatment.
12. Don't discuss your case with any unnecessary parties.
-Your spouse, your doctor and your insurance agent are necessary.
-Insurance adjusters who want recorded statements are not necessary and you should never give such a statement.
13. Report the accident to your insurance company. -Get a copy of the accident report for them, and check it for accuracy.
-If the report is inaccurate, call the investigating officer and question him on it.
(You have the right to do this. Ask him to correct the report.)
-If you have collision coverage, insist that your company appraise and repair your vehicle immediately.
(They'll be reimbursed by the other driver's insurance.)
14. If your injuries/symptoms persist for more than a few days, consult an attorney.
-Be sure the attorney is a personal injury specialist. Ask him about his experience!
-Write down all questions you may have about the accident prior to the interview.
-Learn all you can about your rights in such a legal case.
-Ask what fees and expenses you will be required to pay, what the attorney thinks the case should be valued at and what he feels he can do for you in recovery.
-Don't hesitate to interview several attorneys and compare their responses.
15. Get two (2) property damage estimates if you have no collision coverage, and give these to your attorney or to the other driver's insurance company if you have no attorney.
-Try to get the other driver's insurer to repair your vehicle without signing any releases.
16. Try to get the other driver's insurer to pay for your medical bills, without signing releases.
(By doing so, the other driver's insurance company will be admitting fault.)
17. Never sign any releases until you are fully prepared to settle your case.
-The only exception is when your attorney advises you to do so.
18. Keep a written daily diary of the aftermath of the accident.
-List all that happened in the accident and initial medical exams.
-Follow your progress and the problems caused in everyday life by your injuries.
(This will prove invaluable at your trial, which may be much later.)
19. You should never consider settling your case until all your symptoms have disappeared and you are back to normal.
-If you have had a concussion, you should not settle for six (6) months, at least.
-Remember: Your cause of action is the most important protection you have against a truly serious or catastrophic injury.
20. Obtain the following documentation for yourself and/or your attorney:
-Copies of all medical bills resulting from the accident.
-A list of which bills have been paid and which have not.
-A list of mileage to and from all health care providers.
-Copies of all doctors' medical reports and dictations in your medical file.
-Copies of all admit and emergency room records of all hospitals treating you for the accident.
-Copies of radiology reports on tests given to you, such as x-rays, CT Scans, MRI's or Myelograms.
-Copies of all statements given by any witness to any aspect of the accident.
-Copies of your wage records or income tax returns to show the impact of the accident on your income.
-Any photograph or videotape of the injuries, accident scene, vehicles or any other aspect of the case.
-Copies of your insurance policies.
-Copies of your property damage estimates on your vehicle.
-Copy of the accident report filed by the police.
DON'Ts: What Not To Do When An Automobile Accident Happens:
1. Don't be talked into not calling the police.
2. Don't give recorded statements to insurance adjusters.
3. Don't sign releases or checks with release language printed on them.
4. Don't settle your case unless your symptoms are completely gone.
5. Don't settle your case unless you have spoken to an attorney and have had your rights explained to you and your questions answered.
6. Don't discuss any aspects of your case with unnecessary persons.
7. Don't do anything just because they say you "have to".