There are a number of common misconceptions about accident cases. Listed below are three of these common myths along with the actions you should take. An experienced personal injury lawyer is always the best person to advise what to do after an accident. However, when speaking to an attorney immediately isn’t an option, we have noted some general tips that may help protect you until you're able to call an attorney.
Myth 1 If you're hurt in an auto accident, but think the injury is minor, you shouldn't tell the investigating police officer about your injury. Always call the police after an accident. Sometimes after what seems a minor collision, the person at fault may offer to handle the case privately and not want to call the police. This is never a good idea. Without a police report, it can be difficult to document what happened, or even prove that an accident did occur. Sometimes what seems like a minor impact can produce serious long term injury. So always use the police to protect your rights and document the facts. If you aren't sure who was at fault for the collision, don't voluntarily take the blame. Determining fault is the police officer's job, and sometimes even the police get it wrong. If you are injured tell the police. If you don't inform the police about your injury, the officer will write on the police report that there was no injury. A "property damage only" report can damage your case later. The defense will say you "weren't hurt." So even if the injury seems minor, tell the police about it and let the officer document your injuries. Time and medical evaluation will tell how badly you are injured.
Myth 2 After an accident, when the insurance company calls and asks to record an interview with you, or "take a recorded statement," you should freely give a statement over the telephone. Don't give a recorded interview or a written statement. Often after an accident insurance company representatives will call and request a recorded statement. Sometimes an agent will offer to come to your house, and write down what you tell them and ask you to sign it. Sometimes the company will send you a form, and ask you to write what happened and draw a diagram. Don't give such a statement, either to the other driver's insurance company or your own. Don't write the narrative. Don't draw the diagram. If a company wants a statement from you, that means there are important legal issues in the case. Politely decline any recorded statement until after you consult with your injury lawyer.
Myth 3 When the insurance company sends you a letter asking for a signed authorization to inspect your medical records, you should sign and send off that authorization. Don't sign a medical authorization or a "medical release form". Often after an accident the insurance company will send a letter asking you to sign a medical authorization so that the company can obtain your medical records and confirm your injuries. Don't sign such an authorization. Consult an experienced personal injury lawyer instead.
In any accident, auto or other personal injury accident, if you are injured, get medical attention immediately. Your health and welfare should be your top concern. Sometimes people don't realize they're injured until the day after the accident, or delay getting treatment. But by "toughing it out" for days, sometimes weeks, before seeing a doctor, they don't help themselves get better and if there is any legal case, waiting can hurt your case too.
When there is an accident, it’s always a good idea to take photos. Photographs can prove invaluable in proving disputed aspects of your case. Take pictures of the damage to your car. If you were caused to slip and fall, take pictures of what you fell on. If you slipped on ice or snow, take photos as soon as possible-before you see a lawyer. Also, have a friend or family member photograph any injuries that are visible, such as cuts, bruises, stitches or casts. Take lots of pictures every few days or each week until the injury heals.
Keep your paper records. Save receipts for prescriptions, medical instruction sheets, medical bills, police "accident basic sheets", and any documents you receive. Give these to your lawyer.
If you are a loved one has been in an accident contact us today and we will assist you with getting the outcome and compensation you deserve.