Whether moderate or severe, being involved in a car wreck is a scary experience. Often times following impact, the parties involved in a wreck are panicked and somewhat disoriented. However, if you are able to follow these instructions without further injuring yourself, you can greatly benefit yourself and your potential case:
- Documentation: if you are able to do so without further injuring yourself, take pictures on your phone at the scene of the wreck. Things to photograph include: the location of the vehicles, the damage to the vehicle, any skid marks leading up to the collision, any debris from the wreck, and the general area in which the wreck occurred. These photographs will be helpful in proving how the wreck occurred and proving liability.
- Speaking with the police: following a wreck, the responding police officer will interview the people involved. What you say to the police officer will be written down in the narrative portion of the police report. If you feel any pain or discomfort, it is important to tell the police officer, so the narrative will accurately reflect your injuries. It is also important to provide the investigating officer with a detailed account of how the wreck occurred. This will be especially important if the at-fault driver disputes liability.
- Eyewitnesses: If you are able to move around without further injuring yourself, getting the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses can be critical to your case. The perspective of an un-interested neutral observer can be helpful in proving liability and also the extent of your injuries based on the impact.
- Medical treatment: when an auto wreck is reported, in addition to police, the fire department and EMS will quickly arrive on scene. If you are feeling pain or discomfort, it is important to share these symptoms with the first responders. Everything you say or do will be written down in their report, which can be of great help down the road. If the first responders recommend that you be transported to the hospital, you should follow their advice.
- Stay off social media: In today’s age, almost everyone has a Facebook or other social media account. It is important for your case to minimize your social media presence following an injury. While you should definitely avoid removing items from your page, which can lead to trouble down the road, you should adjust your privacy settings to the most private setting. One of the first things the insurance company will do when evaluating a claim is search a claimant’s social media.
- Listen to your doctors: This point seems obvious, but all too often, victims of negligence will treat with their physician, but not follow directions. Failing to strictly follow your doctor’s instructions can significantly reduce the value of your claim, even where liability is clear or admitted.
- Be honest and consistent: Honesty and consistency are critical throughout the entire process. You should be honest and consistent with your treating physicians. Doctors see thousands of victims of car wrecks each year and know how to spot embellishment. A doctor’s note that the patient appears to be overreacting can destroy a case. Also, it’s important to be honest with your attorney. Your attorney is best able to fight for you when he or she has a complete understanding of the injuries and how the wreck occurred.
We hope that everyone remains safe while driving, but in the event of a car wreck, we are happy to consult with you to determine what your legal rights may be concerning recovery. If we can help you please contact us at (404) 995-8808.
Written by Matt Kahn
Matt focuses his law practice on representing individuals who have been injured due to the negligence or wrongful conduct of others. Matt can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 924-4157.