When it comes to protecting your rights as a victim injured by negligence,
ensuring you take the right steps as soon as an accident occurs can make
all the difference. Whether your injuries were severe enough to require
emergency medical attention or trip to the hospital, or you were able
to remain at the scene of the crash, there are a number of things you
should be doing, and avoiding, that can strengthen any
personal injury claim you choose to file.
At Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner, our award-winning Hawaii car accident
lawyers have represented victims and families throughout the islands following
preventable wrecks. Backed by decades of combined experience, we know
the importance of taking the right steps following an accident, as well
as the importance of avoiding mistakes that could harm one’s ability
to secure the financial compensation they need and deserve.
Whether you have recently been involved in a
car accident or not, our legal team wants you and your loved ones to have the information
you need to better protect your rights. Consider the following accident
checklist to help you learn what to do when you’ve been involved
in any type of traffic accident:
Get a police report – If you are able to do so, it is a wise decision to contact local
authorities and have them respond to the scene of the crash. Doing so
can ensure any emergency medical services are alerted when necessary and
that traffic can be controlled safely around the crash. Additionally,
law enforcement officers can also compile a police report based on an
objective account of the scene and statements from drivers and witnesses
involved. This police report can provide supporting evidence to your claim
in the future.
Avoid discussing fault – After any type of accident, no matter how seemingly minor, you
should always avoid discussing who was at fault. You should also avoid
apologizing and saying you are sorry, even if you feel a natural reaction
to do so in order to be polite. The fact is that you do not always know
what caused or contributed to the crash, even if you think you might have
played a role. Discussing fault or apologizing can lead to insurance companies
using what you say against you, even when it is not entirely true. Simply
focus on people’s health and taking other appropriate steps rather
than talking about fault.
Collect information – If you are still at the scene following an accident, you can help
yourself and any future claim you file by gathering as much information
as you can. This includes all contact information from other drivers involved,
as well as information about their vehicle, driver’s license, and
insurance coverage. You can also speak with witnesses and collect their
information as well. If you have a smart phone equipped with a camera,
it’s a good idea to take pictures of the crash site and surrounding
areas, including signs and signals. You might also want to jot down notes
regarding the accident and events leading up to it while they are still
fresh in your mind.
Get timely medical attention – Seeking medical attention should always be a priority after a
crash. Sometimes, victims may be treated at the scene by emergency medical
technicians and released, or may be transported for further care to a
local hospital. No matter what happens, you should always pursue a follow
up with a doctor, who can assess you for possible injuries, including
injuries you may not have been aware of in the immediate aftermath of
a crash. Seeing a doctor can rule out any potential complications and
ensure you begin the treatment you need to make a recovery. It also shields
you from allegations from the defense and their insurance provider that
you waited too long to see a doctor, and that it serves as evidence you
didn’t really suffer injuries in the wreck, even if you did and
were in pain all along.
Don’t trust the insurance company – One of the most important things to remember following an accident
is that the other party’s insurance provider is not on your side.
These insurance companies are corporations, and like any corporation,
they care about money and profits more than people. Be wary of the other
driver’s insurer contacting you to make a statement that can be
used against you, or to offer you a lowball settlement in order to quickly
end the case. You don’t have to make recorded statements to them,
especially without consulting with a lawyer first.
Get hold of a lawyer – One of the single most important things you can do after a crash,
regardless of what happened and what you did or said, is to immediately
consult with a lawyer. At Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner, our attorneys
are available to help victims as soon as possible after their accidents,
not only to help them take the rights steps, but to also provide the representation
they need to deal with insurance companies, medical treatment, and the
process of securing compensation for their damages. Our attorneys have
decades of collective experience handling car accident cases, and we can
put that experience to work for you.
Don’t delay in making the most important call you can following an
auto accident. Call Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner for a free and confidential
Contact us to get started.