Should I Take Pictures After a Car Accident?
If you are ever in a car accident, you may find yourself stunned, injured, and maybe in shock. Your first concern should be getting the medical care you need. Taking pictures may be the last thing on your mind, however it is crucial to stay calm because your actions in the aftermath of a traffic accident will not only impact your safety, but your legal rights as well.
When a motor vehicle accident is caused by the negligence or recklessness of another driver, injury victims have a right to file a civil lawsuit to recover damages. While car accident claims are typically resolved through automobile insurance claims, it takes a skilled personal injury attorney to make sure you are covered for your losses.
If you sustain a serious injury that is not covered by insurance, an attorney can also fight for your rights in court to obtain compensation that considers all your future medical and financial needs. In any event, it is crucial to project your rights and your well-being after a car accident, here’s how.
What To Do After A Car Accident: Taking Pictures and Everything Else
By following these practical steps, you will ensure the safety and rights of all parties involved in the car accident -- yourself, your passengers, and the occupants of other vehicles.
Stop at the Accident Scene
All drivers who have been involved in a collision with another vehicle are required by state law to stop their vehicles at the scene, attend to passengers and other drivers, and call for emergency help if necessary. You are also required to exchange information with other drivers (driver’s license, insurance, contact information).
Get Out of Harm’s Way
If you are not injured in the collision and your vehicle is drivable, move it to the side of the road to avoid oncoming traffic. In the event that you or anyone else is injured, call the police or 911; motor vehicle accidents resulting in injuries and property damage must be reported to law enforcement. The police report will also be important evidence if you proceed with a personal injury claim.
Seek Medical Attention
If you have been seriously injured, seek immediate medical treatment, but get medical attention regardless. You may be in shock, and the signs and symptoms of an injury may not surface until days or even weeks later.
Delaying treatment may cause your injuries to worsen and could also undermine a potential injury claim. Ultimately, seeking medical attention will help to document your injuries so that your damages are properly assessed.
Take Photos At the Car Accident
If you are not injured and are able to do so, use your smartphone (most of us are tethered to one by now), to take pictures of your vehicle, the other car, and any other vehicles involved in the accident. Also, take pictures of the accident scene and your injuries if you are able to do so. In any case, pictures will be important evidence in your claim. Also, there may be video footage available of the accident from nearby buildings or traffic cameras, which your attorney will undoubtedly obtain when building your car accident case.
In addition to exchanging information with the other driver, get contact information of any witnesses who can verify your version of the accident. This information can also be gleaned from the police report.
Be Careful About What You Say
Of course, you should cooperate with the police, but don’t say anything like “I’m sorry,” or “My kids were fighting.” or anything else that suggests you are to blame. Also, don’t apologize to or confront the other driver either. Again, it is important to stay calm and watch what you say so that you don’t jeopardize your claim.
Don’t Talk to the Insurance Company
Shortly after the accident you will be contacted by a claims adjuster from your insurance company. The adjuster does not represent your interests, but rather the insurer’s, so don’t negotiate your claim and certainly don’t sign any paperwork. Ultimately, it’s best to contact an attorney before you talk to anyone at the insurance company. A good attorney will take over all communications with the insurer and make sure your interests are protected.
Stay Calm, Get Help, Take Pictures, and Call an Attorney After a Car Accident
If you have the unfortunate experience of being involved in a motor vehicle accident, and your chances are high, remember these simple steps. And if you or a loved one is seriously injured, get the medical care you need and then talk to an experienced personal injury attorney.
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