MOTOR VEHICLE COLLISION ?
1. CALL THE POLICE:
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident causing injury to person or property, you are required to stop and give, your name, address, and show your driver's license and insurance identification card to the person who is injured or whose property is damaged, or to a police officer. By doing this you are making an official record of the event, obtaining an independent witness [the police officer] of some facts of the event, and documenting a statement from the other driver.
2. INJURED PERSONS RECEIVE FIRST CONSIDERATION:
If anyone is injured, inform the police officer who will then call an ambulance immediately. Before help arrives, you should not move an injured person. Keep the person warm with blankets or coats if necessary. Do not give an unconscious person anything by mouth. If you are injured, get to an emergency room.
3. PROTECT THE SCENE:
Make every effort to prevent further accidents. Vehicles should not be left in a position of danger on a highway if they can be moved, nor should passengers remain in such a vehicle. If the highway is obstructed at night, have someone with a flashlight warn approaching motorists, activate your flashers and set out flares or reflectors if they are available.
4. MAKE A COMPLETE REPORT TO THE POLICE:
Give the police officer the basic facts e.g., how it happened, the color of the light, what the other driver told you, etc. Ask the police officer how you can get a copy of the accident report and write down the police officer's name and badge number. Inform the officer of any symptoms that you are experiencing.
5. EXCHANGE INFORMATION WITH THE OTHER DRIVER:
Obtain the names and addresses of all other drivers involved, along with the names and addresses of other passengers. Write down the vehicle information from the registration cards of all cars involved in the accident, as well as the insurance information [name, address and policy numbers]. If you notice that their insurance or registration has expired, inform the police.
6. DO NOT ASSUME THAT THE POLICE REPORT WILL CONTAIN ALL AVAILABLE INFORMATION:
This is particularly true of names and addresses and telephone numbers of eyewitnesses, so make sure you get this information yourself. This is extremely important when there are different stories as to how the accident happened, for example, when both drivers at an intersection accident claim to have had a green light, when it's only possible for one of them to have had a green light.
If you don't obtain witness information at the scene, it is probably lost forever.
7. POINT OUT ANY PHYSICAL EVIDENCE TO THE POLICE:
By physical evidence, I mean any debris from the cars in the roadway, any skid marks from the vehicles involved, damage to each of the vehicles, as well as any physical signs of injury (bruise, laceration, etc.).
8. WRITE DOWN THE DETAILS OF THE ACCIDENT:
It is a good idea to write down what happened soon after the accident. The sooner you make notes of the details of the accident, the more information will be preserved for later, before your memory may fade and some of the specifics are lost. Your note should include date and time, road conditions, weather conditions and speed of all other vehicles involved. It is also a good idea to draw a diagram of the accident showing the position and direction of the vehicles just prior to and after the accident.
9. REPORT THE ACCIDENT TO YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY:
Your insurance company is responsible for the payment of your medical bills, and must be promptly notified of the crash and of your injuries. Frequently the insurance company will ask you for a tape-recorded statement, and I suggest that you do not do so without an attorney. I give this advice because your insurance company often is your adversary when you present claims, and also because I may have serious problems with the way the questioner interrogates you - they may be suggesting answers that may not be true, may suggest facts in their questions, or other tricky or confusing questions.
10. IF YOU ARE INJURED IN THE ACCIDENT:
If you are in pain, go to the Emergency Room or see a doctor as soon as possible. Potentially serious and costly injuries may not be evident at first; let these experts evaluate you and determine if your injuries require treatment.
11. TAKE PICTURES:
Take pictures of the accident scene, skid marks, and damage caused to your vehicle. If you were bruised or have other obvious signs of injury, you should also have someone take pictures of any bruises on your body – black and blue marks, bruises from seatbelts, anything that proves that there were forces to your body from the crash. This evidence proves that your body experienced a forceful blow, and the photos will help contradict the defendant’s insurance company’s doctor who will certainly have a great resume, and who will say that you are not injured at all, or not as seriously as your own doctor testifies.