Being involved in a serious automobile accident is frightening. This is especially true for cross border accidents. However, the actions you take at the scene can have substantial impact on what will happen to your personal injury case. Remembering this advice can help get the compensation you deserve.
1. Call the Police
Sometimes after what seems a minor collision, the person at fault may offer to handle the case privately and not want to call the police. This is never a good idea, especially in cross border cases. Without a police report, it can be difficult to document what happened, or even prove that an accident did occur. Sometimes what seems like a minor impact can produce serious long term injury (especially brain injuries). Furthermore, having a police investigation and subsequent report can help establish who was at fault for the accident. If you aren't sure who was at fault for the collision, don't voluntarily take the blame. In fact, insurance companies rely heavily on the police report when reaching their determination of who was at fault. If there is no police report, determining who was at fault can become a battle between the two drivers or expensive experts. If you are injured tell the police. If you don't inform the police about your injury, the officer will write on the police report that there was no injury. A "property damage only" report can damage your case later. The defense will say you "weren't hurt." So even if the injury seems minor, tell the police about it and let the officer document your injuries. Only time and the proper medical evaluation will tell how badly you are injured.
2. Preserve Evidence
Do not move your car unless it is creating a dangerous situation or you are ordered to do so by the police. If possible, take photographs of the scene of the accident and the vehicles. If you have a passenger ,have them take the photos. Take as many photos and videos as you can. If you can, get photographs taken of any visible injuries. Take lots of pictures every few days or each week until the injury heals. In a serious auto accident, don't "sign away" your totaled car before first clearing it with your lawyer. The wreckage may contain valuable evidence. Photographs can prove invaluable in proving disputed aspects of your case. Save receipts for prescriptions, medical reports and bills, police reports and any other relevant documents you receive. Give these to us.
3. Identify Witnesses
Often, witnesses will try to leave the scene before the police arrive. Encourage them to stay to give a statement to the police. Regardless if they stay, try to get the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses to the accident.
4. Get the Other Driver’s Information
Be sure to get the other driver’s name, address, phone number, license plate number, car registration information and automobile insurance company name and policy number.
5. Seek Immediate Medical Attention
If you are offered medical attention by the police, accept it. After a collision, with the excitement and fear, you may not realize how seriously you are injured. If the police or the emergency medical personnel offer you an ambulance ride to the hospital, take it. Let the doctors check you out and follow medical advice. If a doctor in the emergency room tells you to follow up with your family doctor or an orthopedic surgeon, make and keep the appointment. If your doctor sends you for diagnostic studies or physical therapy, follow that advice. Clients who ignore the treatment recommendations of their physicians neglect their health and damage their case. If you don't follow this advice, the insurance company will use your decision not to accept medical care as proof that you weren't really injured.
If you don’t leave the scene by ambulance, get medical attention immediately. Sometimes people don't realize they're injured until the day after the accident. Especially in cross border cases, injured people sometimes delay getting treatment because they aren’t close to their doctor or reasons of cost. But by "toughing it out" for days, or weeks, before seeing a doctor, they don't help themselves get better and they make their legal case much worse. The insurance company will use any such delays against you.
If you can, start with your own family doctor for treatment or a referral. If you need to be seen by a specialist, it’s preferable for your family doctor refer you. If you're injured and have no doctor, or if you have no medical insurance and cannot afford treatment, talk to us. While it’s usually not preferable to see a doctor arranged by your attorney, we may be able to help you get necessary medical attention. Your health should be your first priority.
It’s also critical to tell the truth about your injuries and your case. Protect your credibility by telling the truth when you answer medical questions. A single lie can ruin a personal injury case. If you have a prior injury or health problems and are reinjured in a car accident, let the doctors know about your prior problems. Most importantly, telling the truth will help the doctor treat you properly. Not telling the truth about prior conditions will damage your case. Don't pretend to be disabled if you aren't. If the insurance company suspects your claim is false or inflated, they may hire investigators to follow and photograph you. Your truthfulness and credibility are your most important assets in a personal injury lawsuit.
6. Find an Experienced Cross border Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been in a serious cross border accident you should consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. The rules and regulations regarding these types of accidents are complex and require the assistance of experienced counsel. We offer free consultations regarding cross border personal injury cases. You need an attorney who focuses on personal injury cases to get proper representation. You are best served by an attorney who regularly fights for clients against insurance companies and understands the nuances of cross border cases.
7. Report the Accident to Your Automobile Insurance Company
Your insurance policy requires you to report accidents. Be sure to call as soon as you can.
8. Be Careful Whom You Talk to
You should not talk with anyone about how the accident occurred, other than your attorney. Any statements you make can be used against you in both criminal and civil court. Avoid talking about the accident if you are medicated or in great pain. It is especially important to never talk to the other driver’s insurance company or give a recorded statement without your attorney being present. Often after an accident, insurance company representatives will call and request a recorded statement. Sometimes an agent will offer to come to your house, and write down what you tell them and ask you to sign it. Sometimes the company will send you a form, and ask you to write what happened and draw a diagram. Don't give such a statement, either to the other driver's insurance company or your own. Don't write the narrative. Don't draw the diagram. If a company wants a statement from you, that means there are important legal issues in the case. Politely decline any recorded statement.
9. Don’t Sign Anything
Do not sign anything without first getting the advice of an experienced cross border personal injury attorney. A private investigator may ask you to sign a statement. The insurance adjuster may offer you a money settlement and ask you to sign a release of your claim. You should not sign anything without reviewing it with your attorney. Don't sign a medical authorization or a "medical release form". Often after an accident the insurance company will send a letter asking you to sign a medical authorization so that the company can obtain your medical records and confirm your injuries. Don't sign such an authorization. Consult with us instead. Furthermore, don't sign a lien letter or assignment. If you are an American, your own medical insurance company may send a letter asking you to repay the insurance company for accident related medical bills it paid. Don't sign such a letter. Depending on the jurisdiction, your medical insurance may not be entitled to be repaid out of your injury settlement. We will tell you if you have to repay any medical insurance benefits you receive, and when, and how much you have to pay.
Still have questions? If so, contact us, to schedule a free consultation. 1(844)299-0808