It is crucial to understand how to protect yourself after an accident. What you choose to do following an accident can have implications for how much money you get to help you recover. The recommendations in this article are relevant to anyone who has experienced a workplace injury, auto accident injury, motorcycle injury, and accidents involving a truck.
DO NOT make assumptions
It is important not to assume no injuries have occurred in an accident. Whether it is to you or another party.Injuries can sometimes be tough to assess right away and sometimes they are not even noticeable until days or weeks after an accident. Whiplash, back problems, and even concussions may not be detected right away. In many cases you will not notice any injuries until the adrenaline has faded away.
When you report the accident be sure to mention any suspicion of an injury. If possible make sure to note any suspicion of injuries to anyone else involved in the accident.
DO check on everyone’s injuries and get everyone into a safe environment
There are a lot of emotions following an accident but try to remain calm. The first thing you need to do is get everyone into a safe environment as fast as possible to eliminate any further injuries. As mentioned above it is important not to move anyone that could have a serious neck or back injury. You can still make the environment safer by directing traffic, offering a blanket, and assuring the victim that help is on the way.
DO NOT get into an altercation with any other party involved in the accident
After an accident it is easy to immediately get angry and place blame on someone else, especially if they are no doubt responsible for the accident. Keep a cool head and report the accident to the authorities. You will only hurt your chances of receiving a fair settlement if you take matters into your own hands. As tough as it may be you need to be compassionate towards anyone involved, they could have injuries that need attention.
DO show compassion towards everyone involved
Showing compassion and an interest in everyone’s health is important. Especially following an accident where emotions can run high. Show everyone involved what is the most important by showing that you are genuinely concerned about everyone’s health first and foremost.
DO NOT Leave the scene without giving your side of the story
This is also critical if you expect to get fully compensated for your injuries. If you leave the scene without giving your side of the story then you are at the mercy of the other party. Make sure your side of the story gets into the official accident report.
If you feel it is necessary you can take your own notes and photos to keep as documentation that will support your version of the accident. The more details you can document the better.
DO report the accident to your own insurance agency
It is ok to report the accident to your own insurance company. In fact, there might be a period of time in which you are required to report it. Helpful information for how to document the scene of the accident can be found at https://www.iii.org/article/scene-accident
DO NOT move anyone that may have a back or neck injury
It is important to check and make sure everyone is in a safe place following an accident, however, if you suspect anyone has a serious injury, especially to the neck or back, then DO NOT attempt to move them. Wait until the trained professional first responders can come assess their injuries.
What you can do is block traffic or try to comfort them in any way so they feel more comfortable. Moving someone with a serious neck or back injury can compound an already serious injury.
DO call 911 to report the accident and inform them of the severity of injuries
Once everyone is in a safe environment then call 911 and report the accident. If there are any injuries then be sure to inform them as best you can how severe they are. This will help the first responders dispatch the personnel appropriately.
DO NOT Post the accident on Social Media
The accident will most likely be investigated by the other party’s insurance company. Your side of the story needs to be consistent with the report you give to the police. Any inconsistencies could hurt your case.
DO take notes and photos of the accident scene in detail
Do not take this for granted. You should document the accident in as much detail as possible. Notes are important because your memory of the accident might be the best right after the accident. Photos are also great because they can be used to help build your case when it is time to receive a settlement for your injuries.
DO NOT speak with or accept any payments from the Insurance Agency
It is important you do not speak with or accept payments from the other party’s insurance agency. They will most likely try to get you to accept an offer for a fraction of what you are entitled to.
While their offer may seem appealing you need to consult a personal injury attorney that can make sure you receive full compensation. Make sure you have a personal injury attorney on your side so they can speak with the other party’s insurance agency.
DO Consult a Personal Injury Attorney Before Entertaining Offers from the Insurance Agency
Having a personal injury on your side before the other party’s insurance agency has time to contact you about a settlement can make a big difference. They will be able to calculate the full value of your injuries whereas the insurance agency will try to make an appealing offer that is only a fraction of what you deserve.
Most attorneys will offer some sort of free consultation so you can get an idea of the full range of their services and what they think of your case. Here are important questions you will want to ask a personal injury attorney as you look for a good fit.
Elkus & Sisson, P.C. will help you answer questions on how to protect yourself after an accident
Our team of personal injury attorneys can help answer any questions relating to how to protect yourself after an accident. We are extremely experienced with accidents involving work related injuries, auto accident injuries, motorcycle accident injuries, or truck accident injuries.
As mentioned earlier, be sure to consult an attorney before you speak with or accept any offer from the insurance agency!