Most people have been or will be involved in an automobile accident during the course of their lifetime. When the inevitable happens, there are some things that you can do which will help any attorney you may hire.
As we have written previously, the first call you should make after an accident is to 911. The responding police officer will eventually generate a police report, which will be used as the official description of the accident and will be relied upon by many different parties, including your insurance carrier, throughout your case. However, do not assume that the report will automatically be correct or representative of the events of the accident. Whether you were shaken up and not thinking clearly, the officer misheard your statement or wrote down the wrong information, or the other party gave a false narrative of the happening of the collision, these reports may contain errors. As soon as you receive the police report, review it carefully, and act quickly to clear up any inconsistencies as soon as possible by contacting the reporting precinct and filing an addendum.
If you have a phone with a camera function, take plenty of photos at the scene of the accident. Include photos of: (1) the location of the cars before they are moved, including any traffic signals and road signs; (2) property damage, including the damage to each car; (3) the license plates of the other vehicles; (4) the driver and occupants of the other vehicles; (5) any possible related marks on the road surface; and (6) the interior of the vehicles. These photos can later be used, if necessary, to show the extent of the impact and to show injuries and other damage immediately after the accident.
If you are injured, go to the hospital from the accident scene and get examined by emergency room doctors who may take x-rays and determine the extent of your injuries. Not only will this help your attorney by documenting any physical injuries you have, but often, immediately following an accident, you do not feel much pain and are in shock that you were just involved in an accident. However, a few hours later or the next day, you will feel the impact of the collision and may learn that you have sustained personal injuries requiring ongoing treatment that were not apparent immediately following the accident.The insurance company may question whether your injuries were caused by the accident if you do not go to the hospital following the accident.
If you have been in an automobile accident, the experienced attorneys at Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf LLP can help you navigate this trying time.