I just finished reading a wonderful blog post by my good friend Guy DiMartino, a Florida based personal injury attorney. Guy has a unique background because not only is he a lawyer but he is a licensed chiropractor as well. He wrote a great blog post about the three things you should at the scene of an accident–you can read the post here.
Here are Guy’s main points:
- Report the accident to law enforcement– I cannot stress this enough. I have had countless clients who have been injured from a car accident but never called the police. When they go and get the information from the other driver that is at fault they find out that the person was lying or wrote down the wrong information. If there is a police report made we can track down the car through the VIN numbers to determine the identity of the driver. When reporting the accident the officer can be used as a witness at trial as well. We can ask the officer to describe the scene, how long it took him/her to get on the scene, how much damage was there to the cars and most importantly who was at fault. Even if you don’t feel injured at the scene of the accident you should report the accident because your injuries may not be showing because of adrenaline or because the injuries take time to develop.
- If the paramedics come to the scene, let them check you out. This is great advice. However, I would add that if the paramedics don’t come to the scene you should call them and have them check you out regardless. You may not be able to determine if you are injured. I have seen many clients who are injured but cannot readily determine their injuries. Everything happens so quickly in a car accident you need to make sure that you are properly protected. Guy makes a great point that if the paramedics don’t come to the scene or you refuse treatment, the defense attorneys will make a big deal about this during closing argument. Even if you have a slipped disk in your back or a neck injury, they will make a big deal that it didn’t hurt that bad because you refused treatment.
- Get the contact information of any witnesses to the accident. I have written about this before. You or a car passenger should try and get information from potential witnesses. This is important because they can help tell the story of your accident from a different vantage point.
I’m also going to add two of my own points on what I believe you should do at the scene of your accident.
- Take Pictures! If you are able to take pictures of your car, the other driver’s car or any other destruction, do it. If you are unable to do this, then ask another driver, the police or another witness to take pictures of the accident scene. It is compelling evidence when arguing to an insurance adjuster or a jury that you car was damaged because of the accident.
- Be Careful what you tell the Police and the Other Drive– the statements that you make at the accident scene can be used against you. Keep your statements short and sweet. Do not give any more information than what you need to give.
If you are at the scene of the accident you can call us and we can help guide you through the process. We are always more than willing to help you. Our office number is 816-200-2900.