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, which often masks the extent of your injuries. It is difficult to think calmly and rationally in the immediate aftermath. One of the first mistakes accident victim make is failing to contact an attorney for a free consultation. Accident victims often believe their injuries will resolve on their own, only to find themselves dealing with those injuries weeks down the road. Before making the decision whether to take or not take legal action, call one of our knowledgeable personal injury lawyers for a free consultation.
Mistake #1: Not Taking Photographs
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.
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. The other party often admits fault to the police. The police report will also document your injuries. 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. Click here to file a “counter” report with the Sacramento Police Department.
Mistake #3: Not Collecting Witness Information
Many victims assume the witness information will be gathered by the police. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many witnesses will not wait at the scene and many officers do not even attempt to record the necessary witness information. Once witnesses leave the scene their identity will be lost forever.
How to Fix: Ask for the name and phone number of any witnesses you encounter at the scene. A good attorney will have their private investigator contact witnesses and gather their statements.
Mistake #4: Not Going to an Emergency Room or Medical Clinic Soon Enough
If you have noticeable pain or discomfort you should request an ambulance. If you do not leave the scene in in an ambulance, at least go to a medical clinic on the same day as the accident. Failure to seek medical attention right away will allow the insurance company to easily claim you were not injured in the accident.
How To Fix: Get examined by a medical professional right away and describe your pain and symptoms. The longer you wait to see a doctor the easier it will be for the insurance company to claim you were not injured in the accident.