Top 4 Mistakes Made Every Day by Accident Victims In California…and How to Fix Them
Getting in an accident can be one of the most traumatic events in your life. At the scene of the accident your adrenaline will be running high and this may mask the extent of your injury and/or symptoms. It is difficult to think calmly and rationally in the immediate aftermath. This article assumes that the accident is the other parties fault or that you have reason to think the accident is not your fault.
Mistake #: Not Taking Photographs: Almost everyone has a cellphone camera. If you have one, take photos of the position of the cars, before they are moved if this can be done safely. This will often prevent the other driver from misrepresenting how the accident happened. Take a photo of the other car, including a photo of the license plate. Take a photo of the other driver as well.
How to Fix: Have your attorney get copies of the photos taken at the body shop and the photos taken by your insurance adjuster and the other parties insurance adjuster.
Mistake # 2. Not Calling the Police: No matter how “minor” you think the accident is, you should always call the police. A police officer will interview the parties and witnesses and get everyone to commit to a version of events. This prevents the other party from changing their version of the facts. A police report in which the other party admits fault will speed along the property damage claim with the other party’s carrier. The police report will also document a cursory list of your injuries, but when those notes match your complaints at the emergency room it is very helpful in proving your case.
How to Fix: Call and make an official “counter” report right away.
Mistake #3. Not Collecting Witness Information: After an accident, most people get out of their car, exchange information and wait for the police to arrive. If you ignore the people standing around looking at you may miss an important witness. Too many people assume the witness information will be gathered by the police. Many witnesses will not wait that long and many officers do not even attempt to record the necessary witness information. Once these people leave the scene their identity will be lost forever.
How to Fix: If you did not get information at the scene there may be nothing that can be done here. An attorney can hire a private investigator to find witnesses.
Mistake #4. Not Going to an Emergency Room or Medical Clinic Soon Enough: If you have ANY pain or discomfort you should request an ambulance take you to the hospital. If you do not the insurance industry will argue you were not hurt. If you do not go to the hospital at least go to a medical clinic on the same day as the accident. Every day you do not go to the doctor, chiropractor or other health care professional diminishes the value of your case. Going to the hospital, via ambulance, is the best way to make sure you are okay and to preserve the value of your case.
How To Fix: Get yourself examined right away. Tell the doctor you have been in pain since the accident and tell them why you could not get in sooner. However, the longer you wait to see a doctor the harder this problem is to cure.