What Steps Does Someone Need To Take After An Auto Accident?
After an accident, if possible, obtain as much information about the other driver(s). Their driver’s license will often provide the information that your attorney will need. If you have a smart phone with a camera, the easiest way to do this is to take a picture of their driver’s license. California requires drivers to carry their insurance cards in their vehicle. Again, copy the information or take a photograph of this card. Specifically, you want to obtain the name of the insurance company and the policy number of their particular policy. If you’re unable to obtain the information about the other driver due to your injuries, and there are witnesses at the scene, ask any of the witnesses to assist you in obtaining this information for you. Additionally, if you have a smart phone or a camera, or one of the witnesses has a smart phone or camera, take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, as well as any of the other vehicles involved in the accident. Be sure to take a photograph or copy down the license plate number of the other vehicle and the registration.
You should see a doctor immediately for any injuries you may have. Go to either an emergency room and/or an urgent care center if your doctor is not available. If the police or paramedics are at the scene of the accident and recommend an ambulance, take it. Although, you may feel fine now, or think your injuries are not terribly serious, symptoms can appear days after the accident. If you do not see a doctor a quickly as possible, the insurance company(s) will assume that you are not injured. Their reasoning is that a reasonable person who is injured will promptly seek out medical advice. Waiting several days to see a doctor makes it much more difficult for your attorney to prove your injuries and the other driver’s insurance company will suggest that they were not the result of the car accident. When you see the doctor, be a good historian. Doctors or nurses rely on every bit of information you give them. Let them know about every area where you feel pain, regardless if that pain is 1 on a scale of 1 to 10, or 10 on that scale.
Small aches and pains will often be disguised by larger injuries but, be sure to point them out to the doctor. Make sure the doctor is writing this down, too. If the doctor is not writing it down, ask him to. The notes the doctor takes are very, very important in later allowing that doctor or other doctors to assess your injuries, and certainly it makes clear to the insurance company(s) that the doctor is aware of your symptoms. Make sure that the doctor is writing everything down that you’re telling him. As larger injuries resolve, the smaller injuries will become manifest. If symptoms are not documented by the doctor right after the accident, the insurance company(s) will assume these symptoms are due to something other than the accident.
Take detailed notes regarding your injuries, as well as your medical treatment, to help you get full compensation for them. However, these notes are never to be given to anybody other than your attorney. Again, these notes are for your attorney only. You want to jot down the names and addresses of any of the doctors you see, following your visits. Be sure not to give your notes to the insurance company, or indicate you have relied upon them if you’re having a conversation with a third party other than your doctor. This can be very harmful to your case. When I say the notes should be given to your attorney only, it is because if you give them to anybody other than your attorney, then this breaks the attorney-client privilege, and the other drivers lawyer can obtain these notes.
If there is a piece of paper you’re writing these notes on, and it has other things written on it, the insurance companies will get everything that is on the paper. If possible, they will use that information to hurt or devaluate your case. It can be very damaging, and it can place a case that would otherwise settle into a position where it would have to go into a courtroom and be tried in front of a judge and/ or jury. Again, these notes are fine for your attorney, but, the attorney only. When you speak to your doctor, don’t hand him the notes that you’ve written down. Any written notes, comments, or observations, whether you keep it on a calendar or a journal, is between you and your attorney.
Keep receipts for medications you’re prescribed, or any medical devices prescribed, such as, crutches, or braces. Keep every bit of paper you receive from any of your healthcare providers, or other medical professionals during the course of your treatment. This would include emails and notes that you receive during and after telephone calls, doctor’s appointments and so forth. Save all your medical bills, all your receipts. These include prescriptions, special equipment, special foods, and co-payments you may make to the doctor. All of that will be reimbursable to you. As well, you’ll be reimbursed for any travel expenses for medical appointments, and any time you lose from work, while seeing doctors.
It is a good idea to keep, in addition to the time that you’ve lost from work, track of any opportunities that you may have lost, due to your injuries. Studied attorney’s think in terms of quality of life when handling a traumatic injury accident. In that regard, also keep track of any activities you might have wanted engage in. It is not uncommon that a person would want to do something that they are no longer able to do, because of injuries or doctor’s appointments. Write all that down. It’s important. That’s quality of life, and somebody has taken that away from you due to his or her negligence. But, remember – only give this written information to your attorney.
Be sure to obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses to your accident. The reason for the pictures that can be taken is because a picture is worth a thousand words. Bruising, breaks, casts, cuts, lacerations etc., will heal, so be sure to take pictures, and continue to take pictures during all of your medical treatments. Keep doing this until all demonstrative physical observations, like bruising and so forth, have resolved as best they’re going to resolve.
For more information on Aftermath Of An Auto Accident, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (760) 837-1884 today.
Call For A Free Consultation
(760) 837-1884 | (800) 830-7746