Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What Do I Do If I'm In An Accident?

Getting into an accident is traumatic in and of itself. The shock of collision happening, the concern for your health and that of your passengers, the loss of a vehicle, so on and so on. This is a list of considerations that will help you face that difficult time:

1. Health: Your health is always a first priority: Seek immediate medical attention. Car accidents can be very traumatic and startling events. The excitement and shock of the moment will often mask symptoms of a neck, back or other injury that will last much longer than the accident's initial shock.

2. Do not admit fault: While you may be partially at fault, that does not preclude the fact that other circumstances, drivers or conditions contributed to the harm or made the accident more dangerous than it otherwise would have been. Therefore, until the accident can be evaluated in it’s entirety, it is best to not admit any wrongdoing up front.

3. Witnesses: Write down names, addresses and phone numbers of all available witnesses. In seeking justice, it is essential to paint an accurate picture of the circumstances surrounding the incident. The more facts available, the better.

4. Police: Call for the police and ask officers to write an accident report. Often one or both parties will suggest that you “take care of it yourselves." Too often, the story will all of the sudden dramatically change once the insurance companies are involved, or at a minimum, memories of the accident will slowly begin to fade or change. Protect yourself. Have the police get it down on paper.

5. Leave the cars where they end up: Try not to move cars until the police arrive, unless the vehicles impede traffic, create a dangerous situation, or you are required to by law.

6. Other drivers’ information: Ask for other drivers’ names, addresses, and insurance information. Does the name on the insurance car match the name of the driver? If not, what is their relationship?

7. License plates: Write down all relevant license plate numbers.

8. Call your insurance company: Inform your insurance carrier. Even if you are not at fault, your insurance carrier will be interested in ensuring that the responsible insurance company covers the cost of your vehicle and necessary medical expenses. This is one of the most effective ways to ensure a quick insurance company response from the responsible party.

9. Take photos: Use your cell-phone camera (or other camera) to photograph injuries, damage, skid marks, and other relevant images.

10. Social Networking Sites: Make all of your social network media sites ‘private’ and do no allow new ‘friends.’ It is wise to cease using these sites altogether until any dispute is resolved. A recent phenomena in the insurance and legal community is to use online postings regarding events just prior to or after the accident against you in subsequent proceedings. In an attempt to limit that exposure, it is better to control who might have access to those sites. Again, the most effective method is to take them down completely.

11. Contact Attorney Adam Barlow before you give any statements to the insurance company.

Adam W. Barlow, Esq.
Adam Barlow Law, P.C.
480-461-0533 (Fax)

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