When you are in a car accident, the minutes and hours following the crash can be critical. The decisions that you make in those moments can have a lasting impact on your case. If you are injured, it is important to get medical help right away. If you are not injured, it is still important to take some basic steps to protect your rights and interests.
Here are several reasons why failing to take the necessary first steps after an automobile accident can lead to further legal troubles down the road in Philadelphia.
Collect Important Evidence
If you do not take the necessary steps to collect evidence at the scene of the accident, it may be more difficult to prove what happened later on. This is especially true if there are no witnesses to the accident. It is important to take pictures of the damage to both vehicles, as well as any injuries that you or your passengers have sustained. You should also get the contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
Additionally, this information can be used to help support your claim for damages with your insurance company. When you hire a Philadelphia car accident lawyer (if you already have a legal representative, you should contact them as soon as possible), they will need this evidence to help build your case. In some cases, they can also hire an accident reconstructionist to help determine what happened.
Get the Other Driver’s Information
To file a claim with either your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company, you will need to have their contact information. This should include their name, address, phone number, and insurance information. Insurance companies need this because they want to be able to investigate the accident and determine who was at fault. If you do not have the other driver’s information, it may be more difficult to prove that they were at fault.
It is important to get this because, in some cases, insurance companies will try to deny claims if they do not have this information. They do this by saying that they cannot determine who was at fault. In other cases, insurance companies will try to lowball settlements, or they may not offer a settlement at all.
Call the Police
It is also important to call the police after an accident, even if it is a minor one. The police will create a report of the accident, which can be used as evidence in your case. The report will include information about what happened and who was involved in the accident. This can help prove your version of events.
Sometimes, the police may also issue citations to the at-fault driver. This can also be used as evidence to show that the other driver was at fault for the accident.
After, to get the record, you will likely have to file a Right-To-Know request, which may cost a small fee.
Do Not Admit Fault
After an accident, it is important to avoid saying anything that could be construed as admitting fault. Even if you think that you were partially at fault for the accident, you should not say so. Anything that you say can be used against you later on.
For instance, if you tell the police officer that you were not paying attention and that is why you crashed into the other car, this can be used as evidence that you were at fault for the accident. The same is true if you apologize to the other driver or passengers.
Do Not Sign Anything Without Speaking to a Lawyer
The other driver’s insurance company may try to get you to sign a release form. This form gives them the right to access your medical records and other information. They may also try to get you to give a recorded statement. It is important to avoid doing either of these things without first speaking to a lawyer.
The reason for this is that insurance companies will often use these things against you later on. For instance, if you give a recorded statement, the insurance company may take something you said out of context and use it to deny your claim. Or, if you sign a release form, the insurance company may use your medical records to try to prove that your injuries are not as severe as you claim.
Seek Medical Attention
If you have been injured in an accident, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. This is true even if you do not think that your injuries are severe. Some injuries, such as concussions, may not show symptoms immediately.
It is also important to get medical attention because it creates a record of your injuries. This can be used as evidence, later on, to show how the accident has affected you.
However, it is important to avoid going to the doctor that the insurance company recommends. These doctors may be biased and may not give you an accurate diagnosis.
Keep Track of All Expenses Related to the Accident
If you have been in an accident, you may incur several expenses. These can include medical bills, car repairs, lost wages, and more. It is important to keep track of all of these expenses. This will be helpful later on when you are trying to get compensated for your losses.
These expenses can also be used to calculate how much your case is worth. For instance, if you have $10,000 in medical bills and $5,000 in lost wages, your case may be worth $15,000.
Additionally, you may be able to get compensated for pain and suffering. This is a catch-all category that can include things like emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
If you are in an accident, it is important to take the necessary first steps to protect your legal rights. Failing to do so could lead to further legal troubles down the road. If you have any questions, or if you need help taking these first steps, contact a personal injury lawyer because they can review your case and help you understand your options.
They can also help by representing you in court and fighting for the best possible outcome for your case.