Injured in a Car Accident? What to do next...
A car accident can be a traumatic event, but even more so if you sustain an injury If you've been injured in a car accident, you are entitled to file a personal injury claim against all at-fault drivers. With the help of a Long Island personal injury attorney, you can seek repayment for all of of your costs associated with the accident, plus compensation for any injuries you have sustained.
The Importance of Preserving Evidence
The type and quality of evidence gathered in the aftermath of a car accident will have a huge effect on your ability to claim 100% of your losses. Insurance companies are not in the business of paying out claims. They will do anything they can to dispute or lower the value of your injuries. Gathering strong evidence with the help of a Long Island car accident attorney allows you to fight back. Overall, it increases your chances of obtaining a fair and reasonable settlement.
If the insurance company or the at-fault driver refuses to agree to a settlement, then the case may proceed to a trial, where the evidence which you preserved becomes even more important. If you need assistance in doing so, feel free to call us at McGrath Klaus & Associates at 516-500-7711 to schedule your free case review.
Eyewitness Statements and Contact Information
One of the most important forms of evidence is also one of the most fleeting. Eyewitnesses can provide crucial and unbiased perspective on an accident.
Car accident victims should ensure that they get eyewitness contact information in the if there are any witnesses to the accident. Not doing so may cause regret as it’s impossible to track that person down later.
When police arrive after your accident, suggest that witnesses make a statement to be included in the report. That way, their statement is part of the official record, and law enforcement has their contact information stored for later use. Do this even if you don't believe the injuries are too severe. Some injuries are not realized until days after the accident and by then it is too late to find the witness.
Photos of the Accident Scene and the Injuries
Accident scene photos can prove valuable for certain cases. Some details of the accident may be disputed, and photos can sometimes clear up these discrepancies. Physical evidence can also provide key elements of proof that another driver or person was clearly at fault. With access to cell phone cameras, this is so much easier to do today and should not be forgotten.
If you are not too hurt to walk around after your accident and it is safe to do so, try to take photos of the accident scene before any of the vehicles are moved. Use multiple angles, and include background objects like road signs or billboards to establish a firm location.
After vehicles are moved, take close-ups of the damage and any large debris. You should also take photos of your injuries immediately after the accident, firmly establishing that they were present at that time.
A Complete, Accurate Police Report
The police report written by the responding officer will serve as an official record of your accident. If you take anything from this post, it is DO NOT FOREGO AN ACCIDENT REPORT. ALWAYS CALL THE POLICE TO DOCUMENT THE ACCIDENT. Police officers frequently issue a citation to a driver who contributed most to the cause of the accident, and all known causal factors will be listed as part of the report. So many times, I have clients who don't get a police report because the other driver admitted fault at the scene of the accent, only to later change their story. Do not take that chance.
When making a statement to police, be as honest and accurate as possible. At the same time, do not incriminate yourself, admit fault, or speculate about details that you are not sure of. You want to provide as much information as possible without risking self-incrimination or self-contradiction.
Thorough Medical Documentation
Seek medical treatment within 12-24 hours of your accident. Ideally, you will visit the nearest emergency department or urgent care facility immediately after providing a statement to police. Be sure to mention to the doctors any pain, difficulty moving, or other limitations you may be experiencing. Consent to all tests and imaging needed to make a full diagnosis.
Ensure that your symptoms and known medical factors are documented fully and in detail. Some care providers may gloss over key details or commit minor inaccuracies, especially in a busy ER. Rectifying these errors later can be difficult, so it’s best to get the details correct before you are discharged.
Keep All Medical Bills, Related Receipts, and Documentation of Other Expenses
Gathering evidence after your car accident is supposed to help you prove several things. In addition to establishing that someone else was at fault and that you were injured because of the car accident, you will need to prove the exact cost of your medical care and related expenses.
Save all of your discharge papers and medical billing information. Any time you make a purchase or payment for things like prescription drugs, save the receipt. If you have other expenses related to your medical care, such as parking fees, save proof of these expenses as well. If you need to miss work while you recover, keep your most recent pay stubs. You will need to prove your past income to seek repayment for your lost wages.
Create A Pain Journal but AVOID SOCIAL MEDIA
If you wish to claim pain and suffering after your accident, insurers and courtroom juries may expect some form of proof. A pain journal is one of the best forms of proof you can provide. Simply put, a pain journal is a record of the pain and suffering you experience on a day-to-day basis while you recover from your accident injuries. Each entry does not have to be long, but it should be specific.
In your journal, you should note any pain you experience as well as any activities that were made difficult by your medical condition. If you experienced sadness, regret, or humiliation because of your inability to perform normal tasks, make a note of it. Avoid posting to social media or other publicly visible platforms while you recover. Defendants may use photos of you smiling and enjoying activities as a way to dispute the accounts in your pain journal.
Let Us Help You Navigate a Fair Settlement
Hiring a car accident attorney with the experience and resources needed to make gathering evidence easier will make all the difference. Do not make the mistake of going it alone. Your attorney can also help you build a single narrative that each piece of evidence reinforces, one by one.
Find out more by calling McGrath Klaus & Associates for a free case evaluation. Call 516-500-7711 or to schedule your free appointment today.