Ten Things You Should Do After A Car Accident
Posted on January 8, 2017
It seems automatic to call 911 if you are in a car accident, especially if you have been injured. But besides the obvious, there are some important things you (or someone on your behalf) should do as soon as possible:
At the scene
Take photos: Use the camera on your phone to take photos of the accident scene. You will probably have access to your vehicle even after the scene is cleared, but you might not get a chance to see the other driver’s vehicle again. Walk around the vehicles and take photos of any damage caused by the accident. Take a photo of the other driver’s licence plate. If you think that the accident could have been partly caused by poor road conditions, such as snow or ice cover, take photos of the road, too. Think of the scene as needing to be photographed once and for all. It will not be created again, so taking photos is a way of preserving what it looked like so that you can recall it later.
Record important information: Get the other driver’s name and insurance information, and share yours. But do not discuss anything else with the other driver. Do not admit fault for the accident, even if you feel sorry it happened. Admissions of fault can be used against you in court if charges are laid by police or if a lawsuit is brought by you or someone else injured in the accident. If you speak with anyone else at the scene of the accident, get their name and phone number, too. If, for example, they saw the other driver run a stop sign and hit your vehicle, their information might be useful later, especially if the other driver denies fault
At the hospital or at the doctor’s office
See a doctor: You might be taken by ambulance to hospital from the scene of the accident, but if you are not, you should still see a doctor on the day of the accident or as soon as possible after the accident. Injuries are not always obvious right away. Some people feel only a little bit of pain at the scene of the accident but then wake up the next day feeling very sore. Seeing a doctor right away will ensure that no injury is overlooked and that a record of your injuries is made by someone with medical expertise. If you later bring a lawsuit against the driver of the other vehicle, having a doctor’s same-day record of your accident-caused injuries and symptoms will help show that the injuries were caused by the accident and not some other intervening event that occurred between the accident and when you eventually saw a doctor about your injuries.
Take photos: When you get home from the scene of the accident or from hospital keep track of your injuries by taking photos of them. Doing so will create a timeline of your injuries and how they healed or how they became worse over time. If you need to start a lawsuit because of your injuries, your lawyer might want to use these photographs to show the severity of your injuries.
Report the accident to your insurance company (but don’t talk to any other insurance company): You have an obligation to report your accident to your insurance company within 7 days of the accident if the accident involved injury or property damage. If you are unable to contact your insurance company within the 7 days, do so as soon as possible after that. Your insurance adjuster will ask you for details about the accident. The other driver’s insurance company might try to contact you to ask you questions about the accident. Do not talk to the other driver’s insurance company.
Apply for Statutory Accident Benefits: If you are injured in the accident, you are entitled to seek from your own insurance company payment of benefits (monies) that will help pay for medical and rehabilitation treatment you require because of your injuries. You might also be entitled to income replacement and other benefits. Your insurance adjuster will explain these benefits to you. You need to apply for benefits within 30 days after the accident or as soon as possible thereafter. You are entitled to seek these benefits no matter who was at fault for the accident.
Write down your injuries and keep track of your symptoms: Use a diary or other notebook and record how you feel on a daily basis. Much like the photographs you take of your injuries, your written record will serve as a useful timeline in case you or a lawyer needs to know what happened when.
Keep track of what you pay: Keep receipts for out-of-pocket expenses that you have incurred since the accident. Expenses that you have paid because of the accident doctor’s office parking, mileage to and from medical appointments, and physiotherapy, for example might be recoverable through your own insurance company or through a lawsuit.
Keep track of what you miss: If you have to miss time from work or school because of your injuries, write this information down and keep a record of any hours of lost pay. If you need to bring a lawsuit against the driver that caused the accident, your records will help your lawyer in the effort to recover your lost wages.
Call a lawyer: If you have been injured in a car accident, you will probably have a lot of questions about what your rights are and how you can protect them. At Velocity Injury Law LLP, we can help you deal with your insurance company and protect your future. Call us at 519-946-4300. There is no charge to speak with us.
This article is not a substitute for legal advice. If you have any questions, please contact us at 519-946-4300.
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