If you are ever involved in a car accident, you need to make sure that you are protecting your legal rights with each step you take following the accident. When you are involved in a car accident, your first thoughts may not be how you are going to be compensated for your injuries, through an insurance settlement or court settlement, but the steps you take after an accident can influence your ability to get fair compensation in the future.
#1 Always Call 911
The first thing that you need to keep in mind is that you should always call 911 when you have been involved in an accident. You should never just talk to the driver and leave it at that. Having the police document your accident will provide you with a police report, that can be vital towards getting a fair settlement in the future. Don't trust that the other driver will be truthful with their insurance company; always call 911 and wait for an officer to respond to your accident.
#2 Accept Medical Treatment
Additionally, calling 911 ensures that an ambulance will be sent to the scene of the accident. Even if you think you are fine, you should get checked out. Often times, the adrenaline you experience after you have been involved in an accident can prevent you from noticing your injuries. A trained first-responder may be able to notice injuries that you have not felt yet because your body is pumped full of adrenaline.
Getting checked out by the first-responders on the scene will help establish a trail of medical records that you may need to rely on in the future when you are trying to get compensated for the accident.
#3 Get Contact Information
The third thing you need to do is make sure that you get the contact information from the other drivers involved in the accident. If you don't get this information at the scene of the accident, it can be very difficult to get that information later. You need to get more than the other driver's name and phone number; you also need to make sure that you get their insurance information and policy number so that you can provide that information to your insurance provider and your attorney.
#4 Take Pictures
The fourth thing you should do, if you are able, is to take a copious amount of pictures. A picture can prove your case even better than the best witness statement. Take pictures of the position of your vehicles from multiple angles; take close-up pictures that show the damage as well as far-away pictures that show where the vehicles were positioned following the accident. Take pictures of the road conditions before the accident, including all traffic signals. The more pictures and details you capture, the stronger your case will be from a legal standpoint.
#5 Watch What You Say
Finally, watch what you say. Do not say that you are responsible for the accident or take responsibility for it in any way while talking to the other drivers involved or to the police. You can ask about the other driver's welfare, but do not apologize for what happened. Apologizing and saying sorry, no matter how natural that feels, can be seen as an admission of guilt for the accident by the police or by their insurance company.
If you want to protect your legal rights, and the chance that you will be able to get the compensation you deserve following an accident, always call 911 and let the police examine the scene of the accident and first responders to check on you. Always gather as much information as you can at the scene of the accident. To learn more, contact a law firm like The Law Office of Israel S Hernandez, PLLC.