Being a passenger in an accident is terrifying. But the actions and decisions you take immediately after the incident are very important, especially if you decide to lay a personal injury claim at a later stage.
Step 1: Call the police and wait until they get there. Assuming that you don’t need urgent medical attention, it’s important to stay at the scene of the accident until the police arrive. This is because the police report is a powerful tool in proving your injuries to a court and it can strengthen your case should you decide to submit a claim. Once the police do arrive, make sure that your presence is noted and that your details are accurately recorded in the report. You have the right to ask the officer to repeat the report back to you to make sure that he or she has got the facts right.
Step 2: If you are able to do so, photograph the scene of the accident. Try and include the vehicles involved, the road markings, stop signs, robots or anything else that you can see. Take as many pictures as you can, from different angles, from close up and from far away. Also try and get photographs of any obvious injuries that you may have received as a result of the accident.
Step 3: If possible, get the driver’s name and contact details plus the names and contact numbers of witnesses at the scene.
Step 4: Get medical attention – fast. This isn’t only good for your health; it also strengthens your personal injury claim. Even if you feel unhurt, symptoms can appear days after the accident happened. Symptoms can include pain, discomfort, dizziness or numbness.
Step 5: Keep records. Not only do you need to be seen by a medical practitioner, you also need to keep notes of the doctors, or other medical specialists who attended to you. You must also record the name of the hospital, the time you arrived and the steps that were taken once you arrived. Also keep copies of all meetings, appointments and even emails or phone calls you have with a doctor. Make sure that you keep the receipts for any medications you were prescribed and records of costs associated with the rental of any equipment, such as a wheel chair or crutches. Rather have more information than less, as every bit can help strengthen your case.
Step 6: Be careful who you talk to about the accident. A careless comment made to a friendly neighbour or even a post you make on social media may be used against you should your personal injury matter go to court.
Step 7: Consider hiring a specialist personal injury attorney firm that is experienced in dealing with these types of matters. A good firm can help you navigate your way through the claims process and make sure that you get the best possible financial compensation for your personal circumstances.