Motor Vehicle Accidents
When a motor vehicle accident occurs, it is easy to become confused and forget to acquire necessary information. Even a minor accident can leave people nervous and shaken. It’s a good idea to keep a checklist of phone numbers to call and questions to ask in the same folder as your insurance papers, in your car glove compartment or console. Then when you need them, everything will be in one place.
If anyone is injured, call the police for help and tell them you need medical assistance. If anyone involved seems to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, tell that to the police when you call for help. Always call the police whether there are injuries or not. Many insurance companies will not cover an accident unless there is a police accident report. Once everyone is safe, you can get the other information you will need.
Your insurance company will need: Full names, addresses and phone numbers of everyone involved, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians who might have been involved, and any witnesses.
Try to find out if anyone is injured or says he is injured.
Make as many notes as you can about the accident itself. Get information about the other vehicles involved, such as license plate numbers, make and model. What was the weather and lighting like at the time of the accident?
Use your cell phone to take pictures AND video.
Were any of the involved vehicles damaged? Was any of the damage obviously prior to the accident, such as tail lights or brake lights not functioning? Were any of the vehicles company-owned?
Be sure to find out the insurance status of all vehicles and persons involved. If any drivers were not the registered owners, get the registered owners’ names, addresses, and phone numbers.
Did anyone take blame for the accident? If they did take a video of their statement.
Get the names and badge numbers of any police officers who come to the scene.
You may wish to contact a personal injury attorney immediately. He may wish to examine the evidence at the site and gather as much information as possible.
Contact your own insurance company as quickly as possible. If you feel that, for any reason, your company may not be willing to cover the accident, you should consider contacting a personal injury attorney first. However, do not delay in contacting your insurance carrier.
On the other hand, you should not answer any questions or make any statements to the other drivers’ insurance companies until you have consulted an attorney. Be polite, but decline to discuss any aspects of the accident until you have obtained legal advice.
If you have been seriously injured, you will probably be taken directly to a hospital emergency room. If you are not seriously injured, however, do not assume that you are uninjured.
Many injuries from vehicle crashes, like whiplash, do not show up right away. If you do begin to suffer ill effects from the crash, notify your health professional immediately, get yourself checked out, and follow the doctor’s instructions as to care and follow-up. Failure to get medical care might have serious consequences if you have latent injuries that only show up 24-36 hours later.
Do not neglect symptoms that are unfamiliar, or pain that appears hours later. Report any symptoms to your doctor, however slight. Serious back injuries can start out as nothing more than an aching back, but left untreated they can cause major health difficulties. Furthermore, if you do have problems your insurance company will need proof that the problems were diagnosed and treated promptly, and that the problems were related to the accident.
If you can get a camera, it is wise to take as many photos as possible of the accident site, the vehicles, and people involved, and any thing else that might have bearing on how and why the accident occurred. Pictures taken as soon as possible will be the most valuable.
Don’t forget to take pictures of the damage done to all vehicles, license plates, evidence such as street signs or lights, skid marks, etc. If you have an attorney you plan to call, tell him you don’t have a camera. He may be able to send someone from his office to take the needed photographs. Be sure to also tell your attorney about any other evidence you think might be important, such as faulty street lights or signage, malfunctioning equipment (seat belts, turn signals, etc.), weather conditions, etc.
By their very nature Motorcycle crashes case much greater incidence of death and injury per accident.
Motorcycle riders are much more susceptible to injury and a few precautions should be taken anytime you are riding a motorcycle, including:
- Both you and your passengers should always wear a helmet.
- Do not speed.
- Do not follow other vehicles too closely.
- Wear proper gear to protect your body and to increase your visibility on the road.
- Make sure your headlights are always on.
Accidents involving trucks can be catastrophic to those involved do to the size and speed of the vehicles. Generally, truck drivers are held to a higher standard of driving and often carry specialized licenses and have had undergone extensive training. Make sure the Highway Patrol is called to the scene of any accident involving a commercial truck to insure that the incident is properly documented and all the pertinent information is obtained from the driver and the truck.