Top Ten Legal Checklist If You Are Injured in a Car Accident
Car and automobile accidents occur every day and people are seriously injured, even killed. It is important to know your legal rights if you are ever in a car accident, whether you were the one right or wrong and whether or not your injuries are severe. The following are steps you an take to help protect your legal rights and liabilities.
1) Always stop your vehicle and pull over to the side of the road. You never want to be accused of leaving the scene of an accident. Make sure you are safely away from oncoming traffic.
2) Call 911 or the local police department. Remember to do this step AFTER you’ve pulled over to the side of the road in step 1! Calling from your car while on the road is an additional violation and very dangerous!
3) Obtain the other party’s information including license plate (and state) and driver’s license and insurance information.
4) When a police officer arrives, make sure you are calm, don’t say too much, and check the police report to make sure it is correct.
5) Try to determine if there are any witnesses that saw the accident and obtain their names and contact information. You should also try to get the contact information for any passengers in their cars as well. Take good notes since you may need these later!
6) If you have a phone camera, take as many pictures as you can. Take pictures from all sides and angles of the road and of the vehicles. If you have a digital camera, developing your photos is free so the more you can take, the better!
7) If you even feel slightly hurt, go to a hospital. There is no need to be a tough guy or girl! Frequently there are whiplash injuries that are suffered and only appear later, about 4-48 hours after the accident.
8) Don’t talk about the accident to anyone until you speak to your lawyer. Do NOT post information on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or any other social network! Remember that the only person who cannot use the information against you in a court of law is your own lawyer! If you do want to discuss your case to get some additional advice such as in a free legal advice forum, use an anonymous name that does not identify you. Do not leave email addresses or personally identifiable information.
9) Don’t talk to the insurance company alone and try to make a settlement without your lawyer. Your lawyer is the only person who only has your best interests in mind and hoping to obtain the largest cash award or settlement. In most instances, both of you will share this award so your attorney will fight as hard and he or she can to win your case or obtain the highest settlement.
10) Be careful what you do after the accident. Take it easy. Don’t do work that is physically taxing on you. It may make your injuries worse. If you walk around in public, remember that there are always cameras around! If you try to overexert yourself, someone might see you or take pictures. The other side can use them in court to show you aren’t injured. Be careful!
When in doubt, always call a lawyer to know your legal rights before talking to anyone else.