FAQs By Someone Who Has Been In An Auto Accident
Steps To Take If You’ve Been Injured In An Auto Accident
The first thing that everyone needs to do when they get into an accident is document everything. When you’re there at the scene, make sure you’re taking pictures not just of your car but of the other car. You can usually get pictures of your own car later on; even if it’s totaled, you can go to the tow yard and take pictures.
The other person’s vehicle you may not have access to again, so it is important to take the pictures while you’re there and also to try to take pictures of the cars where they are at the time of the accident itself before the cars are moved. If you have the ability without irritating anybody to take pictures of the people that are there, then you should do that as well, just don’t be obvious about it.
You Document everything as the claim is going on as well as far as your own injuries. If you have sustained some injuries at the accident that show bruising or bleeding or any kind of stitches that you have to get and a healing process, you want to take pictures of those too. Pictures speak a thousand words, so it is important to have those pictures instead of just trying to describe what it felt like or what it looked like.
There will also be a lot of telephone calls, there will be a lot of correspondence going back and forth between you and your own insurance company or you and the other insurance company. It’s important to keep all of the documentation.
When there are telephone calls, keep a notebook and just write down this person from this company called at this time, and this was the conversation. Going back and trying to remember who everybody was or what their telephone numbers were, exactly what was said, is very difficult later on in a case and that information can be very important later on in a case.
So keep a diary of your telephone calls along with record of your medical treatment and medical appointments. You can keep a calendar of your medical appointments that these are the doctors that I went to and these are the dates that I went to them.
It’s also important to contact an attorney as soon as you feel that you’re injured, you’re going to need some treatment and you’re not sure if the insurance company is doing what they’re supposed to be doing or you’re not sure just how to handle it.
It is important to call an attorney early on because the insurance companies are having their investigators go out early and if they get to some evidence that you don’t, that evidence may not be there for you later.
If The Police Ask You To Give A Statement At The Scene, How Important Is That Statement In Your Case?
It can be very important especially at the initial stages of the case. First of all, if the police officer asks you if you’re injured and you feel like you might be, then say that you are. If you are not sure if it’s something that’s going to last forever and go away in a few weeks, this is still your time to say, “Yes, I’m hurt”, if you are. It is important to say that.
Many police reports say, “No injuries”, and when the person is asked by their attorney later on, they say, “Well, I hurt but I thought maybe it would go away and it didn’t so I went to the hospital the next day”, well you still have that police report saying that you aren’t hurt.
Even if you’re not going to go to the hospital right then, you need to tell the police officer that you are. As far as a statement of how the accident happened, that is used a lot at the very beginning of the case to determine liability in a case. It is not something that’s used at trial later; it has to be the officer’s recollection; the police report itself is not admissible.
If You Are Cited At The Scene By Police, Does That Mean Your Case Is Doomed?
No. If you’re cited at an accident scene, unless the officer actually witnessed the accident himself, then the citation and the police report itself is hearsay, but again, that’s not admissible. If you are cited at the scene, and there is a witness that says, “I saw the accident”, and that’s not how it happened, you can often get that case dismissed, and the citation is dismissed.
So, it depends. If you are cited at the scene and you know that you were responsible for the accident, then clearly you don’t have a case. But just because you were cited, if you don’t feel like it was a proper citation and that you didn’t do anything wrong, then your attorney can find a way to prove that.
So it does not mean that your case is doomed. It doest make it more difficult especially at the beginning, the other insurance company with the police report showing that you’re at fault, it’s not going to want to pay for your damages but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a case.
If you are have More Questions About What To Do In An Auto Accident, call the Franco Law Group for a free initial consultation at (813) 873-0180 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.
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