The issue of how an injured party should act in the moments immediately following an auto accident has been debated among lawyers. Some of the advice attorneys give however, may not be the most helpful in moving along your injury case. Attorneys give this advice because they understand the difficulty in reconstructing the circumstances of the accident after the parties have left the scene. However, attorneys need to realize that they and their clients are viewing the incident from completely different perspectives. A client behaving as an attorney could undermine their credibility in an injury case.
Clients will often hear that they should immediately call an attorney, take pictures of the scene, take any video or request any video if the accident was on the property of a business, and locate and interview witnesses. These would be immensely helpful to an attorney because the more information they have the better. However, when it appears that an injured party is more concerned about the strength of their claim as opposed to any injuries that may manifest, it does not seem like the right reaction for someone who was just in an accident. The at-fault party can use these actions to create doubt as to how serious the injury is if someone is more interested in building a case immediately. It can be frustrating for attorneys because every day after the accident means more ambiguity surrounding the case, but attorneys should just thoroughly screen their clients as much as possible before taking a case.
The first priority of any injured party is their health. Stay calm. If possible, move the vehicles to a safe location and call the police. Even if you do not feel injured, request an ambulance to be called to take you to the hospital. It is important to make regular visits to see a health professional in the first few weeks and months following an accident. Many injuries may affect tissues and will not be readily apparent in an X-ray or other scans. A doctor can notice things you may miss on your own body; these injuries may be the source of lifelong problems in the future.
If there are witnesses, simply exchange numbers instead of trying to conduct an investigation.
Call an attorney as soon as possible after seeking medical care to discuss the value of your claim.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Your case may be different. Hiring an attorney immediately will protect your rights. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance.