Even though everyone knows someone that has been injured in an automobile crash, it can be very overwhelming to figure out where you should start in making sure that your rights are protected when you are the victim.
The lawyers at Sandoval & Waldman, PLLC can help you navigate the process.
If you have been injured (or if a family member has been injured or has died) in an automobile accident the following steps should be taken:
1. Seek medical care immediately – Any person who has suffered an injury in any type of accident needs to seek appropriate medical care immediately. For any serious injury, that means going to an emergency room at a good hospital. Follow-up care may take place at a doctor’s office, but an initial evaluation of a serious injury should only be performed at a hospital emergency room.
Any delay in seeking medical care will increase the risk an injury will cause additional harm. It is also grounds for a defendant or an insurance company to claim the injury was not serious or did not result from the accident.
2. Report the accident to the police – Unless it is a minor fender-bender with no injuries, the police should be called to the scene of any accident. Do not allow the other driver to talk you out of calling the police. He or she may be trying to hide drug or alcohol use, or escape responsibility for the damages that have been caused. Only the police can properly document a serious accident, which is often necessary to prove the facts of the accident.
3. Make a list of all witnesses to the incident – When an accident is investigated by the police, the investigating officer should gather this information. However, witnesses are often excluded from accident reports, particularly if the officer believes fault is clear. Witnesses may be needed if an insurance company decides to dispute the officer’s findings. Make sure you obtain the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all witnesses.
4. Take photographs – Make a photographic record of the place where the accident occurred, the damaged vehicle, and of the areas of your body which have visible injuries.
5. Report the accident to your insurance company – Even if the accident was not your fault, notify your insurer of the accident. You may have coverages that are utilized to pay for some or all of your damages.
6. Do not give a recorded statement – Until you have consulted an attorney, you should not consent to a recorded or written statement. This is particularly true if you are injured or on medication.
7. Discuss your rights with an attorney – Most lawyers (including our firm) will discuss an injury case with you and not charge for an initial consultation. Find an attorney who has the experience and expertise to represent you, and discuss the further steps you need to take to protect your legal interests. In severe injury and wrongful death cases, hiring an attorney is almost always the right thing to do.
Know your rights! Speak with a lawyer at Sandoval & Waldman, PLLC today! Call 713-688-4878
First consultation is free and if we don't win your case you don't pay!