If you have been a victim of a car accident, there are certain steps you should take to protect yourself both legally and financially. One of the first steps to take is to reach out to a car accident attorney you can trust. Put these strategies to practice immediately after an accident to maximize your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
According to Arizona state law, all drivers involved in an accident are required to stop at the scene. Even if the accident is small and you do not believe that anyone was injured, you must come to a stop. This is so that you can exchange insurance information with the other driver in the event that future property damage or injury comes up. You should pull over onto the side of the road if it is not safe or practical to remain in your vehicle.
The most important thing to address is an accident is whether anyone is injured and needs help. Injuries should take priority above anything else, including moving your vehicle to another location. If anyone at the scene is unconscious, call 911 immediately. It is important to keep the individual comfortable but do not move them unless you have medical training and know how to move the injured person without causing further damage.
If the accident is serious, you should try to leave your vehicle where it is until emergency service professionals have arrived. Use common sense where this is concerned. If your vehicle is a danger to you or others where it is located, try to move it safely if you can.
Even if you do not require the service of emergency medical workers, you should still call the police to file an accident report. Filing an accident report is crucial when it comes to creating a record of the accident. If there is minor damage, police may not come to the scene. However, you can still request to file a report with your police department over the phone.
If you are determined to be partially responsible for the accident, you will be given a citation at the scene. It is legally required that you sign the ticket and appear in court at a set date. Signing a ticket is not an admission of guilt.
When you are exchanging contact and insurance information with the other driver involved, make sure that you have their phone number, address, insurance contact information and e-mail, if possible. Write down the car’s license plate number as well as a description of anyone who was present during the accident.
Witnesses are generally obligated to stay until the police have arrived at the scene of an accident. In most cases, witnesses can leave once all injured parties have obtained medical assistance. Witnesses may be able to provide information about the accident, so you should try to get their contact information as soon as possible.
Once you are able to access a pen and paper or a computer, write down as much of what you remember about the accident as possible. Include detailed descriptions of how the accident happened, who was present and what happened after. Write about your driving in detail and chronicle everything you did immediately before the accident occurred. This information should only be shared with your attorney.
The officer who responded to the accident will present you with an accident information exchange slip. This slip includes information about the other drivers involved in the accident as well as your police report number. This record is very useful when it comes to filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver or obtaining a claim from the driver’s insurance company.
According to state law, you are only required to give your basic contact and insurance information to the other driver. Any other information is not required. You should never make statements or comments that could be used against you in a lawsuit. When it comes to speaking with the other driver after an accident, avoid:
Never speak with the other driver’s insurance company without your Arizona accident lawyer present. It is important to always pay attention to your surroundings and be mindful of who you are speaking to. Pay attention to everything the other drivers and witnesses say and remember that anything you say can be used against you. If the other driver apologizes, you should record the information and share it with your attorney.
It is essential to seek medical attention immediately after an accident. Even if you do not feel like you have been injured, you should still visit a doctor to create a record of treatment. It is common for injuries such as whiplash to develop long after the other driver has left the scene of an accident. If you do not seek medical attention, it will be far more difficult to establish a link between any injuries that may present themselves later and the accident. Some serious internal injuries do not manifest any physical side effects at all. Only a medical professional can assess whether you have been injured or not.
Hirsch & Lyon is an area leader in auto accident representation. If you are unable to visit the office, a representative will be happy to come visit you to discuss your case. With a free consultation, you can speak to an experienced Phoenix area attorney who understands the difficulties of being involved in an auto accident. The friendly staff at Hirsch & Lyon will help you with your accident claim as well as the other arrangements involved in recovering from an accident, from securing rental car transportation to obtaining assistance with medical liens.
Once you have received medical treatment and consulted an attorney, you should call your insurance company. Even if you did not get a citation at the time of the accident, you may still be required to report the accident to the insurance company. Never give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. Insurance adjustors will often try to trick drivers into giving more information than they are required to in order to diminish or deny a claim.
Between one and two days following an accident, the other driver’s adjustor will make an attempt to contact you. They will nearly always try to get a recorded statement that they can use to thwart your claim. In many cases, the adjustor will offer a minimal settlement to be done with the claim. It is advised to never give a statement to the other parties insurance and, never accept their initial settlement and insist that the adjustor speaks with your attorney instead.
Once you have left your vehicle, it is important to take photographs of the scene. Try to get a variety of pictures from different angles to create an understanding of how the accident occurred. Remember that anyone who is seeing the photos will only have the pictures to go off of. Pictures can help corroborate your description of the accident and serve as a good visual reference if you have trouble remembering things later. It is well worth the extra time to take a good number of pictures since they could save you a significant amount of time later when trying to prove the validity of your claim.
You should take pictures of the road as well as of the damage to your vehicle and any other vehicles involved. Taking hundreds of pictures is perfectly normal after an accident. Try to take pictures in good lighting and get pictures from both close range and far away. If any parts have fallen off your vehicle, take photos of them before they are moved. If your car has already been moved to the junkyard, your attorney will be happy to take photos of it for you.
If you can record your injuries with photos or a video camera, you will have an even better chance of proving your claim. Video and photos of cuts, bruises, scrapes and other injuries related to the accident help to demonstrate the extent of your injuries at the time. If you file a personal injury lawsuit, it could take months or even years before your injuries are able to be acknowledged in court. Having photographic evidence is essential after injuries have healed.
Also take pictures of any medical equipment required in your treatment, from heart monitors to traction. These photographs also corroborate the extent of your injuries and the medical treatment required. In addition to hospital bills, photographs of medical equipment help to paint a picture of the severity of your condition following the accident. As your injuries progress, you should continue to document them through photos and videos.
Daily journalism is essential when it comes to keeping track of the true damages associated with your accident. Keep a record of any pain and inconveniences you deal with throughout the day. Also make note of any limitations your injuries impose on your life. If you have had to miss days of school or work, keep a record of each absence. You may be eligible for compensation for any financial or professional losses you face as a result of your injuries.
If another driver is responsible for the accident, you could receive compensation for lost wages as well as medical expenses. Short- and long-term medical expenses may include emergency care, scans, X-rays, physical therapy, medication and surgery, among other costs. Recording information is the best way to demonstrate the severity of your condition as well as to show the damages you have sustained. Your car accident attorney can use this information to build a strong case for recovering damages from the at-fault driver. There is no such thing as record-keeping that is too thorough or too many pictures taken after an accident. The more information you can provide, the stronger your claim will be if it goes to court.
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