Car accidents make life a whole lot more complicated. That’s a fact. You’ve got to be at work in the morning, you have a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon, and your car is destroyed. You need a rental car ASAP, but everywhere you turn you face obstacles. How are you going to get through this in one piece?
The only way to keep a collision from tearing your life apart is to know exactly what to do, from the moment of impact all the way until the case is over. So let’s start at the beginning. Here are three things you can do at the scene of the accident to give yourself a fighting chance:
#1 Take Photos!
You’ve probably heard the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, if you are the victim of a car accident, a picture of the accident scene is worth ten thousand words. If you are able to safely get out of your vehicle, the first thing you should do is pick up your phone and take a picture or video showing the position of the vehicles. The key here is to take a picture or video before the vehicles are moved, because then you are able to prove where you were hit and who hit you. There is no guarantee that the police report will be correct, or that the other driver will tell the truth, and without photographic or video evidence there is little you can do if something goes wrong.
The one caveat here is safety. Call 911 first if you are seriously injured, if you are in an unsafe environment, or if you do not feel comfortable getting out of your car. Once you have taken photos and called the police, move onto step two.
#2 Look for a Camera or a Witness
Sometimes the facts of an accident are such that taking a photo or video after the impact is not enough to establish what actually happened. For example, if two vehicles collide in an intersection, and both driver’s are saying that they had a green light, how can we figure out who is at fault? Photos taken after the collision won’t be of much help here. In this situation, having a witness or video footage showing the stop light is a game changer. There are cameras posted all over the place, so taking a look around to see if you spot one is a great call. If you spot a camera, make sure to point it out to the police once they arrive.
With regards to witnesses, a person may stop to ask you if you are okay. If this happens, take a moment to ask them if they saw what happened. If they did, be sure to get their name and phone number. That way, if they leave before the police arrive you will still be able to contact them for a statement if needed.
#3 Communicate Cleary
Accidents are very stressful situations. You may be injured, in a rush to get somewhere, or just very upset, all of which can cause a person to not communicate as clearly as they normally would. Communicating clearly with any witnesses and the responding police officer will help minimize the chance of a mistake being made in a statement or in the police report. When talking to a witness, first ask them what they saw. Then, once they have finished, repeat their statement back to them to make sure you understood it correctly. If you understand the witness’s statement, then it is likely that the police will as well.
When you are giving the police your statement, make sure to speak with intention. Remain calm and speak slowly, pausing occasionally to give the officer time to properly write down what you are saying. If you are angry or upset, the officer may make a mistake, and that can cause numerous problems for your claim. You may want to ask the officer if he or she has any questions. If he does not, then go ahead and summarize the facts anyway to make sure you were understood.
If you have been injured in an accident, these three tips will help reduce the possible of delays to your claim down the line. However, when it comes to insurance companies, nothing is a guarantee. Insurance companies do not always listen to reason or follow the law, and even if you do everything right they may still you give trouble. That’s where we come in. If you are tired of fighting or just want some professional help, please do not hesitate to call the Law Offices of Brian deBrun. With over 50 years of combined experience, Brian deBrun and his associates know that when it comes to Personal Injury, Personal Service Gets Results! Call (704) 405-5505 or come by in person to speak with a personal injury attorney today.