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After an accident you should:
1. Stop and remain at the scene.
2. Call 911 to get police and any necessary medical personnel to the scene right away. Once the police arrive, you should file a report with the police, sheriff or highway patrol immediately after an accident.
3. Help or get help for any injured people. The law requires you to give reasonable assistance to anyone injured, for example by calling an ambulance or giving first aid if you know how to do so. However, you must be careful not make the situation worse. You should not move a severely injured person if you are not properly trained because you may make their injuries more severe. There are some exceptions to this, for example if the person is at risk of being killed or hurt even worse.
4. Warn other motorists by using flares or hazard lights. Again, use common sense to avoid making the situation worse.
5. Get medical attention for any injuries right away. Not all injuries are readily apparent after an accident so it is important to watch out for symptoms that may develop later.
6. Get the name, contact information, driver's license number, and insurance information from all other drivers as well as a description of their vehicles and license plate numbers.
7. Get the names, contact information and statements from any witnesses or passengers.
8. Gather as much information as possible about the accident, for example the exact location, time of day, conditions, etc. If it is safe to do so, take photographs of the accident scene and any damage to vehicles or other property and any visible injuries.
9. Cooperate fully with law enforcement officers but do not make statements to anyone regarding your potential fault in the accident without speaking to an attorney first. Statements made in an attempt to be helpful can easily be misinterpreted and used against you. Also, do not sign anything without consulting a lawyer.
10. Contact your own insurance company and report the accident but do not talk to anyone about the details of the accident or your injuries, except your doctor or lawyer.
11. Report the accident to the DMV within ten days if anyone was injured or killed or if there was more than $750 worth of damage to any vehicle.
We recommend getting an attorney as soon as you can. It is your attorney's job to represent you to the best of their ability and you have the right to fair, honest and competent legal representation. You have the right to make decisions concerning your case, including whether to accept or reject any offer of settlement. Your attorney must keep you informed of any significant developments in your case, keep the information you share confidential, and avoid any conflicts of interest. You have the right to a written fee agreement and to an accounting of all expenses and fees incurred in your case if you are awarded damages or receive a settlement. Your attorney must comply with all ethical and professional rules of conduct governing the practice of law in
In general, personal injury claims involve two major elements: the actual damages and damages for pain and suffering. Actual damages include items like past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and damage to property. Actual damages are determined by reviewing documentation such as receipts or bills, and calculating the time you missed from work or potentially the reduction in your future earning capacity. Pain and suffering is much more difficult to determine and will largely depend on the severity of your injuries. Insurance companies use a variety of methods to calculate pain and suffering including using formulas which multiply your actual damages by a pre-determined amount. Insurance companies will always try to resolve a claim for as little money as possible, whether it is a reasonable amount or not. That is why in order to protect your rights and maximize the value of your claim you need an experienced attorney on your side.
The Following Are Preventable Events That May Lessen Your Claim:
1. Not wearing seat belts.
2. Equipment problems (bald tires, worn breaks).
3. Use of drugs or legal medications.
4. Not wearing proper glasses.
5. Traveling too fast for the conditions.
6. Talking on a cell phone or being distracted by passengers.
7. You had a previous injury to the same body part.
8. Damage to your vehicle does not support the amount of injury claimed.
9. Delay in getting treatment for injuries.
10. The other driver had no injury.
If you were in an accident with an uninsured driver, and they were responsible for causing the accident, they can still be held liable for any damages that result, but actually recovering those damages may be difficult. In such cases it may be possible for the injured driver to receive compensation from their own insurance company in the form of Unisured Motorist benefits. If you have been involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist or been the victim of a hit and run, you should inform your insurance company, get copies of any police reports, and contact an attorney right away.
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