Protecting Your Rights after a Motor Vehicle Accident
In the aftermath of a car, truck or motorcycle accident, you want to take the right steps to ensure that you can seek full and fair compensation for all your losses. Here is a checklist to help you and to help your attorney.
Step One: Get the Medical Care You Need
Getting the medical care you need is about more than ensuring you have the best chance for a full physical recovery. It also maximizes your potential financial recovery.
If you are unable to move under your own power, or if you feel pain or discomfort when you try to do so, it’s always advisable to stay immobile and wait for emergency medical technicians to arrive. When they do, make certain that you tell them exactly what you remember having happened, as well as anything that seems out of the ordinary. Don’t ignore even seemingly minor injuries—often, the broken leg heals long before the neck, back or spinal problem.
If you are taken to a hospital, repeat the process. Tell attending physicians or nurses of everything that seems wrong, and ask them to document it in writing.
If you don’t require an ambulance and an immediate trip to the hospital, you should nonetheless take yourself to an urgent care facility or schedule to see your doctor as soon as possible. The longer you wait to get medical care, the greater the risk that defense attorneys may try to argue that your injury was caused by something else.
Step Two: Gather as Much Information as You Can
You want to do as much as you can to help your attorney prepare your case. Start by gathering contact information from any other parties involved in the accident, as well as any potential witnesses. This includes name, address, phone number, e-mail address and insurance carrier (for anyone involved in the accident. In addition, you can also get visual evidence by taking pictures of everything, from the damage to the various vehicles to the injuries you suffered, from any skid marks to the weather or traffic conditions at the time of the accident. The camera on your phone should be adequate.
Step Three: Hire an Attorney
The sooner you retain legal counsel, the sooner you will have someone else working to gather and retain evidence. Your lawyer will know all the types of evidence to obtain, and will have certain tools to simplify the collection of evidence.
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