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What Should I Do After an Accident?

What Should I Do After an Accident?

A good car wreck lawyer knows how critical it is to act fast.  The court system is usually fairly slow. But the evidence gathered at the scene, and the victim’s response to the accident, are absolutely critical to any case.  Mistakes made during this small window of time are difficult to fix later.

Attorneys fight for compensation in negligence cases.  A great client is as much a help to an attorney as any resource and doing just a few things after a wreck help your case.

Collect Evidence

Many people don’t do this, and it hurts their case right at the start.  They assume that officers and other first responders will handle all the evidence-collecting duties.  First responders are there to secure the scene, tend to any injured individuals, and sketch a rough outline of the events. They are not there to collect evidence for future plaintiffs in future negligence cases.

The victim/plaintiff has the burden of proof in a negligence case.  That means the victim’s attorney needs strong evidence. Some sources include:

  •       Witness Statements: Witness statements are crucial to a successful negligence case.  Get as many names and cell phone numbers as possible. Don’t worry about getting their actual statements yourself.  Getting their contact information though goes a long way for your attorney.
  •       Video Evidence: Make a note of any red-light cameras, surveillance cameras, or other recording devices.  Even if the camera is at an odd angle and only captured part of the wreck, this footage is invaluable.
  •       Photographs: Take lots of pictures of your injuries, the damage to your car, and the physical surroundings.

If you are unable to do this at the scene, ask someone else to help.

Seek Medical Care

Before you talk to a lawyer, see a doctor.

Call a Lawyer

There is some evidence that only an attorney can collect.  One example is the Event Data Recorder, which is basically a car’s “black box.”  The EDR can be imaged/downloaded. That can tell the story of how the wreck happened.

Stay Quiet

Do not say anything about the wreck. Similarly, do not talk to the other driver’s insurance company.  You are not required to talk to them.  Sometimes you will get a call asking for a recorded statement—don’t give one!  You are under no obligation to speak with the insurance company so why would you?

To build a successful claim for damages, reach out to a car accident lawyer as soon as you can.