WHAT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
After a car accident, take photos of the scene, your injuries, and any property damage. In addition, keep copies of property damage estimates and repair records, and obtain a copy of any police report that is made.
One of the best ways to make sure that you preserve information about your accident or injury is to make notes after the incident, including what happened, details about the scene of the accident
and all of the people involved. You don’t want the insurance company to have the advantage here.
Although taking notes may not seem important soon after what surely was a difficult experience, remember that it will be vitally important to your position if you pursue a legal claim for injuries. If you are unable to take care of the detail work because of your injuries, try to enlist a friend or family member to help after the accident.
Talk to the drivers of any other cars involved in the accident. Get their names, phone numbers, addresses, driver license numbers, license plate numbers, and basic insurance information. If there are passengers in any of the vehicles, obtain their information as well.
Ask witnesses what he or she saw. Get their names, telephone numbers or addresses, or at least a license plate number if possible. Talk to as many people as you can at the scene. Write down what they tell you and, if they agree, simply get their name and phone number so that you, your attorney, the insurance company, or the court can contact them again.
Do not talk to anyone about the accident other than your attorney, your insurance company, and the police. Do not talk to a representative of another insurance company under any circumstances, without the knowledge of your attorney or your insurance company. If representatives from other insurance companies should call you, be polite, but ask them to call your attorney or insurance company to arrange for an interview. Also, get the representative’s name and number, and tell your insurance company or attorney that someone seeking information about your accident contacted you.
KEEP A RECORD
As soon as you can, record everything you can think of that relates to:
What exactly happened before, during, and after the incident that led to your injury — time and location, weather conditions, who was there before and after, what was said, what you experienced and felt, and anything else that you feel may be important to make note of.
Extent of your injuries: what injuries you suffered, including mental suffering, medical treatment you received, and the effect of your injuries on every aspect of your life including work, social, and personal life. This includes visits to the doctor and physical therapist, time missed from work, any planned vacations that were postponed or cancelled, and the effects that your injuries have had on your close family relationships.
AS YOUR INJURY CLAIM PROGRESSES
You should keep track of new developments by taking notes after any conversations with your insurance company, medical care providers, witnesses to the incident, and anyone else with whom you discuss important aspects of your case. Write down each person’s name and contact information, the date and place of the conversation, and as much as you can remember about what was said.