This article looks at what to do and not to do in the aftermath of an accident and the importance of obtaining legal assistance right away.
In the blink of an eye, an Ottawa resident’s life can change forever. By the time a vehicle comes to rest after an accident, its occupants could suffer a variety of injuries, and even seemingly minor injuries could ultimately cause significant disruption to an individual’s life.
Knowing what to do in those first moments, hours and days following a crash could help preserve any potential personal injury claim that could result from it. In fact, there are some things individuals should and should not do during this crucial time.
What people should do in the first hours and days after an accident
In the immediate aftermath of a crash, the individuals involved often need time to process what just happened. Even if some saw it coming, it usually takes the brain a moment or two to “catch up.” While taking time to process the situation, most people will need time to determine the extent of their injuries. If able, many will exit their vehicles to survey the scene. During this time, they will want to consider the following:
- Call the police and make sure to obtain the name and badge number of each officer who responds.
- Obtain the names and contact information of the others involved and any witnesses.
- Contact their insurance company no later than seven days following the incident.
- Seek medical attention right away.
- Contact the family doctor as soon as possible.
- Report the incident and injuries to employers or schools.
- Obtain the names and contact information for all health care professionals involved.
- Keep detailed information regarding injuries and other crash-related health issues.
- Keep detailed records of all expenses relating to the accident, including those of family members providing care.
- Check for sources of injury and health coverage, such as an employer.
- Seek out the services of an experienced lawyer.
Those involved may also want to take photographs of the scene, the vehicles and the injuries suffered. They should also record recollections of and as much information as possible about the accident right away in an attempt to avoid forgetting details that may be critical to a future claim.
What people should not do in the first hours and days after an accident
Just as people involved in an accident ought to take certain steps, there are also some things they should not do since doing so could jeopardize the pursuit of the maximum amount of compensation to which they are entitled:
- Sign any document without first receiving a full understanding of it.
- Assume that the information and conclusions of the insurance company are correct.
- Fail to ask questions or express concerns.
- Accept a settlement offer without consulting with a lawyer first.
Obtaining the appropriate advice and assistance as soon as possible after an accident is vital. While friends, family, co-workers and others mean well, it could be a mistake to listen to any unsolicited advice. Instead, an individual would more than likely receive much more benefit from the knowledgeable advice of a lawyer.
The above represents only general knowledge of what to do and not to do in the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident. In order to know what would be best for an individual’s particular situation, contacting a personal injury lawyer would most likely prove invaluable.