What You Should Do after an Accident
Most people do not think about the possibility of being in an accident in advance. It is usually only after an accident occurs that a person starts to consider what they should do. An accident can be life-changing and can cause serious injuries. After an accident, a person should take the following steps to protect his or her rights:
- Avoid Making any Statement About Liability or Fault
There often is confusion following an accident and this chaos leads people to make statements that are not factually accurate, but are recorded as such. It is critical not to offer any statements about who is at fault or liable in the accident. In many situations, the cause of the accident may not be known at the time of the accident and the assessment of the parties at the time of the accident may be mistaken. It is not necessary to volunteer any admissions of fault after an accident.
- Exchange Information – Motor Vehicle Accidents
Make sure to exchange identifying information with everyone involved in the accident. Record information about the other drivers and vehicles involved in the accident, including names, contact information, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, insurance company names, insurance policy numbers, and year, make, model, and color of the vehicles.
- Report the Accident – Motor Vehicle Accidents
Call the police from the scene of the accident immediately after any motor vehicle accident. The other driver may attempt to convince the victim to avoid police involvement, but it is very important to have an official report about the accident. A police officer knows how to analyze an accident scene and make observations that can be useful in future negotiations or legal actions. A police officer also understands what information to collect and will create an accident report. Ask the police officer for a copy of the accident report. Make sure to get the police officer’s name, the name of police department, the officer’s Badge or ID number, and the accident report number.
- Report the Accident – Slip/Trip and Fall Accidents
If you slip and fall (or trip and fall) in a store, shopping mall, apartment building, or anywhere else, make sure you immediately report the fall to the owner, manager, landlord, or whoever is in charge of the property. Be sure to take down the names of the persons to whom you reported the accident. Ask for a report of the accident and obtain a copy before you leave. If anyone makes a comment suggesting that this type of accident has occurred before, or that they were aware of the condition before your fall, make sure to get their names and contact information.
- Collect as Much Information as Possible
It is important to gather the names and contact information of everyone involved in the accident and of any witnesses. Witnesses can be anyone that saw the accident occur or anyone that was present at the accident scene after the accident. Getting the contact information from witnesses before they leave the scene is vital. Be sure to note the date and time of the accident, and the location of the accident.
- Take Pictures at The Accident Scene
A person who has been in an accident should use all means necessary to record the details of the accident, including taking pictures at the scene of the accident. Chances are you have a smartphone with a camera, use it to take pictures.
In all accidents, pictures of the following should be taken:
the accident scene;
the location of the accident; and
injuries to anyone, including, broken bones, cuts, scrapes, bruises, etc.
In Motor Vehicle Accidents, you should also take pictures of:
all vehicles involved;
the damage to all vehicles inloved;
any marks or debris on the road or near the scene; and
all people involved with the accident, including drivers, passengers, and witnesses.
In Slip/Trip and Fall Accidents, you should also take pictures of:
all people involved with the accident, including witnesses, owner, manager, landlord, and employees;
the area of where the fall occurred, including anything that contributed in causing you to fall, such as liquid, substance, object, uneven flooring, or any other condition or defect that contributed to the fall; and
the shoes and clothing you were wearing at the time of the fall. After the accident, save the shoes and clothing in safe storage.
- Seek Medical Attention Immediately
If someone is injured in an accident, it is very important that they get medical care right away. You can call for an ambulance from the scene of the accident and ask to be taken to the hospital. You can also go to the hospital on your own. Otherwise, make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. Treating with healthcare providers will document your injuries and the treatment that was necessary as a result of the accident. Make sure to explain to your healthcare providers how you got hurt and all injuries resulting from the accident.
- Consult with an Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can represent you and make a claim on your behalf for the injuries and damages resulting from an accident. An attorney can explain what your legal rights are following an accident and can help you protect those rights. An attorney can provide valuable guidance to help you through the aftermath of an accident. A lawyer knows how to make your claim against the party or parties responsible for causing an accident.
If you have been injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident or a Slip/Trip and Fall Accident, it is crucial to get the right legal representation as soon as possible. At The Marin Law Offices, we are ready to help. Call us now for a free consultation.