What Should You Do If You Have An Accident?
None of us think that we will get into an accident. However, when one occurs you should be prepared to knowthe right actions to take and which evidence is necessary to preserve. So many times, clients come to my office with injuries from a slip and fall in a supermarket, a hit and run car accident, or a trip and fall on someone’s property. I frequently ask them whether or not they took pictures of the object/vehicle that caused the accident, got names of witnesses, or sought medical attention for their injuries. Many times, the answer is “no.” It’s important to know the right actions to take and the mistakes not to make if you have been injured.
Here is a list of the top 6 biggest mistakes that accident victims should avoid:
1. The failure to take an ambulance from the place of the accident to the hospital. The best way to document that you had an accident at a particular location is to call an ambulance. Most people are afraid of calling an ambulance because they are afraid of an ambulance bill. But should the fear of a $500 ambulance bill stand in the way of potentially obtaining a large amount of money from a personal injury law suit? If an accident victim does not take an ambulance, the defendant may argue that the accident was not serious and that the accident did not happen in that particular location.
2. The failure to obtain a police report. If a person gets into an accident, the most important thing that they can do is to call the police. When the police come they will produce a police accident report. This report will convey the time, date, place, and location of the accident and the information concerning all relevant witnesses and parties.
3. The failure to take pictures of a defective condition. Whether it’s spilled milk in a grocery store or an uneven sidewalk, a picture speaks a thousand words. Pictures can make or break a case. A picture can help prove that the defendant failed to keep his property in good condition or failed to fix a hole in his floor. Without a picture the defendant can argue that the plaintiff is a liar and making up the cause of his accident.
4. The failure to seek immediate medical attention. In order to show that the accident caused your physical injuries, it’s important that the injured victim immediately seek medical attention and to inform the medical provider every part of the body that is injured. It’s also important that you make sure that the physician in the hospital makes notes of all the parts of the body that are injured. The failure of a physician to write this in their notes can destroy an injured victims case. It’s very important that you make sure that the physician’s notes are accurrate. So many injured victims are denied compensation because they do not seek immediate medical attention or fail to tell their physician all the parts of the body that are injured. This failure can give the defendant the argument that the victim was not injured due to the accident.
5. Get the names and numbers of all witnesses who saw the accident or took accident reports. NEVER RELY UPON A DEFENDANT TO PRESERVE EVIDENCE FAVORABLE TO YOU. They usually keep evidence helpful to them and damaging to your case. Defendants frequently destroy evidence or refuse to give the evidence to you. Also, people seem to believe that the defendant will be nice and preserve the information from a surveillance camera. They may not. Unless you have an attorney who will write a preservation letter or serve a subpoena to the defendant, that evidence may be destroyed.
6. Finally, the most important thing that you can do after an accident is to call an attorney. An attorney can help protect your rights and make it less likely that a defendant will destroy evidence. The attorney could hire an investigator to interview witnesses or to find witnesses to the accident.