When two or more vehicles are involved in an accident with injuries, the place where it occurs gets active quickly, and good judgment gets blurred. Here are some things that you need to do both at the accident scene and long after the mess is cleaned up.
Call the police
Don’t get talked out of calling the police. Without a police accident report, you’re going nowhere with both the insurer of the person who caused the accident and your own insurer. The law requires you to remain at the scene. If you drive off before the police arrive, you can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident. You’ll be able to get a copy of the police accident report a few days later.
Ask for paramedics
You’ve been injured, so you’ll need treatment and documentation of your injuries. That’s what paramedics are for. When you call 911 for police to come to the scene, the dispatcher will ask if you want paramedics too. Tell the dispatcher that you want them. They’ll treat you at the scene and make a record of your injuries. That’s the first record in a long chain of medical records. Insist on being taken to a hospital by paramedics. You’ll get further treatment and diagnostics there.
Notify your insurance company
You have a contractual duty to cooperate with your insurance company, so notify your agent or your insurer’s claims department of the accident right away. Give your insurer your fullest cooperation, but never give the opposing insurer a statement of any kind. It will only try to use that statement against you sometime in the future. Politely refuse to do so, and call the personal injury team of Lamber Goodnow of Fennemore Craig at 602-910-2566 for a free consultation and case evaluation. You can speak with us confidentially. Whatever you say to your own insurer and us is privileged. Nobody else connected with your accident can access anything that we discuss.
Follow all emergency room instructions
Emergency room personnel might refer you to a medical specialist like a neurologist or orthopedist. If indeed you are referred, contact that physician’s office for an appointment. By all means, make sure that you attend that appointment and any other medical appointments in the future. The opposing insurer and its attorneys will be obtaining copies of your medical records. If they see that you missed doctor or therapy appointments, your credibility will come to issue right away. Allegations of faking or malingering will follow. They’ll also attack your credibility if there are gaps in treatment. Avoid those gaps unless your doctor authorizes them.
Don’t mention your accident or condition on social media
One of the first things the insurance adjuster assigned to your file will do is to search for you on social media. If you’re found, that adjuster will want to know everything possible about you. Anything that you say about your accident or condition on social media can be used against you if it’s inconsistent with what you testify to in a deposition or a trial. You don’t want to open yourself to an attack on your credibility. You’re a victim of personal injury, so keep it personal. Many attorneys advise their clients to take a vacation from social media during the pendency of their client’s case. On the subject of vacations, don’t post pictures on social media of you on a beach or in a club in Cancun while you’re supposed to be recovering. It’s easy for the opposing insurer or attorney to argue that you’re healthy enough to go on vacation but not back to work.
See the Lamber Goodnow personal injury team at Fennemore Craig as soon as possible after being injured in any motor vehicle accident. It won’t cost you a penny. The sooner that you see us, the sooner we might be able to resolve your injury claim. Our practice focuses on personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian accidents. Since we represent clients in these types of cases on a contingency fee basis, no legal fees are due until such time as we obtain a settlement or verdict on your behalf. There’s no reason not to see us after being injured through the fault of somebody else.