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I’VE BEEN HURT IN AN ACCIDENT AND I WANT TO FILE A CLAIM FOR MY INJURIES. WHAT’S THE FIRST THING I SHOULD DO?
If you have been in an accident, there are probably many things swirling through your mind. You are having a hard time grasping what to do first and how you can protect your rights. If you have been injured in an accident and want to file a claim, then there are some things you should do first in order to protect your rights and your future compensation.
Get Medical Care
The very first thing you should do in an accident is to seek medical care if you have been injured. Any other thing that you do could result in further injury. You want to make sure that your wounds properly heal and that any underlying medical condition is caught before it causes even more damage to your health and livelihood.
The one thing you shouldn’t be thinking about when decided to get medical care is what you will do about the medical bills or how you’ll deal with lost wages while in the hospital. These are the least of your concerns and are issues that your attorney can help you deal with when you are ready to make a personal injury claim.
Call the Police
Since you suffered an injury in a vehicle accident, you need to call the police to make a report. Having the police on hand reduces the chance that the claim will turn into a he/she said type of claim where it’s difficult to properly assign blame. If the accident occurred on an interstate or other state highway then call CHP. A police report is the best evidence that you can have in court.
Take Notes and Pictures
While the police can and do take notes and pictures of the accident scene, you should make sure that you take as many photos and notes as possible. While it is best to do these at the scene, you can do these as soon as practicable and while information is fresh in your mind.
Most smartphones have the option to record voice notes so use that functionality. Be sure to take written notes if possible as well. Detail what you see and what you hear. Remember to describe positions, weather conditions, and even what the other driver is saying.
In taking pictures, make sure that you take pictures from every angle you can. You want pictures of all damages and even pictures of the areas not damaged. You want to take pictures of your wounds as well as other people’s wounds. You will want to include pictures around the accident in case there were other hazards present that contributed to the accident. You want to ensure that every area is photographed. Photographic evidence is one of the pieces of evidence that you can really bolster a case. When the photos can be corroborated with police pictures, you can more easily prove damages and negligence.
Watch Your Words
It’s very important that you watch your words. Be careful of anything you say and don’t admit any guilt. Don’t even say something that could be construed as admitting guilt. Keep things very factual when talking with the other person and the police. Keep your emotions in check and be very polite, even if the other person is not. If you need to talk to the police, use your notes to help guide your conversation.
More importantly, don’t lie. Putting a lie that can be refuted into a police report can come back to haunt you. Telling a lie that is captured on video or voice recording can be used to show that your words are not credible. It can negatively impact any court decision on your personal injury claim and even stop a claim even before it can get to court. Don’t lie. It’s better to not saying anything.
Call Your Insurance Company
Insurance companies like you to file a timely claim. You shouldn’t call the other insurance company until you have first contacted a lawyer, but you can call your own insurance company. You should provide them the important information and they’ll assign it to a claims adjuster who will begin the investigative process.
Contact an Attorney
Contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident where you’ve been injured. If you are in LA then you should give El Dabe Law Offices a call. They are there to help you protect your rights and ensure that you are properly compensated for your pain, suffering, medical bills, and lost wages. Your attorney will give you the advice you need on how to proceed. Once you have an attorney, he will be the one to deal with the insurance companies and ensure that they do not take advantage of you.
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