What To Do After An Automobile Collision
You've just had a wreck. A car blew through a stop sign and the drunk driver hit your car, hard. Here are a few tips to think about, from an experienced perspective. First, turn off your ignition. Many vehicle fires can be prevented if you turn off your car right away after a wreck. Second, assess your medical situation and those of your passengers. If you think you are OK to get out of the car, go check on the other driver. Make sure their ignition is switched off. If you have medical training, you can help out whoever needs it on the scene. As soon as you know whether anybody is seriously injured call emergency personnel and explain there was a crash, that people are injured and do your best to tell them where you are. If your vehicles are disabled, don't try to move them. If your vehicles aren't creating an immediate hazard, even if they can be moved, don't move them. Be honest with Law Enforcement. If you believe you might be guilty of some type of crime, you may want to wait until you can talk to an attorney before you make a statement to Law Enforcement officers.
If you have medical issues, seek treatment where appropriate. Obviously if you have serious injuries, that will start with the emergency room and you will be told what other treatment to get. Listen to your doctors. They are the professionals and you need to get well so that you can go on with your life. If your injuries are not so serious you need immediate attention, get in to see your family doctor to assess your injuries and determine whether you need special treatment or the help of a specialist. Again, follow your doctor's advice. We have had many cases at Rotts and Gibbs, where the client didn't follow the advice of their doctors and ended up with permanent injuries. Additionally, the failure to follow the doctor's advice led to the client having a less valuable case. They lost ground on both fronts.
Make sure to get lots of pictures of your car right away, and of the other car if possible. If you are too hurt to do that, have a family member take as many pictures as humanly possible of your car. Many times, the car involved in the collision has been sold or crushed before our client comes to us, leaving us without pictures of the car. It is very difficult to pursue a case with mild injuries without pictures of the car.
Often you will receive a phone call from your insurance company or the other driver's insurance company, wanting a statement about what happened or how you are doing. We prefer our clients to make such statements in our presence at our office. Some unethical insurance employees will try to get injured persons to say they weren't hurt or that the collision might have been their fault. Those statements can be very damaging to an appropriate claim, because they are always recorded and can be used against the injured person later. We want our clients to be honest during those statements, but informed about how to make the statement and how to deal with bad tactics on the part of the insurance company.