What to Do Following an Accident
An accident can leave even the most level-headed person feeling overwhelmed and confused. So, below are some steps you should take after an accident to ensure your rights are protected:
- Report the accident to the appropriate authority. For instance, in car accidents, bus accidents, motorcycle accidents and trucking accidents, the appropriate authority will be the local police or the Tennessee Highway Patrol. In a boating accident or a jet ski accident, you should call the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. In a work-related accident, it should be reported to management.
- If you or anyone else is injured, seek immediate medical attention by either calling 911 or arranging for transportation to a hospital or doctor. People are often reluctant to seek medical treatment for a variety of reasons such as they do not have medical insurance, they can not afford to take time off work, they feel the injury will improve on its own or they are focused on collecting evidence. But nothing is more important than your health, so do not delay.
- Upon arriving at the hospital or doctor's office, cooperate fully with the medical staff. Answer all questions honestly and completely. Ultimately, your past medical history may be reviewed by an attorney for the at-fault party, and you do not want to appear as though you were trying to hide any prior medical problems or other issues.
- Preserve the accident scene as much as possible until law enforcement arrives. If it is necessary to alter the scene to help someone who is injured, remove an on-going hazard, etc, then only alter the scene as much as necessary to address the situation.
- If you have a camera or a phone with a built-in camera/video, take pictures or a video of the accident scene including vehicles, hazards, etc.
- Do not discuss the accident with anyone other than the investigating officer, medical providers, your OWN insurance company and your lawyer. Do not post any photos or comments about the accident to any social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. Do not give any statements to the at-fault party's insurance company. Instead, instruct them to contact your lawyer at the Law Offices of John Day.
- Exchange driver's license and insurance information with the other party or parties.
- Obtain the names, addresses and phone numbers of any passengers or witnesses. If you do not have any paper or a pen or pencil, use your phone to send yourself an email or text with the relevant information.
- If any of the witnesses, passengers or other parties make any statements about the accident, make notes of those statements as soon as possible. Be sure to include the substance of the statement, who made it and when. Again, use your phone to record this information, if necessary.
- If possible, have someone measure or step off important distances such as skid marks and note that information.
- When law enforcement or other authorities arrive, cooperate fully with them. Be sure to report any injuries or suspected injuries to the investigating officer.
- As soon as reasonably possible, take photographs of your injuries. Since some injuries like bruises, abrasions, and swelling typically heal quickly, it is important to document them.
- Take photographs of the damage to your vehicle, boat, motorcycle, bicycle, etc. Do not undertake any repairs until authorized by the insurance company AND our office.
- Do not sign any documents or forms unless approved by us.
- Contact our office anytime of day or night at 615-742-4880 or 866-812-8787 or online. We handle personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency basis which means we only get paid if we win. We advance all case expenses so you are not out of pocket any money to pursue your rights. Once you hire us, we will immediately start fighting for you. For instance, in trucking cases, we may need to take immediate steps to secure crucial evidence. Or, we may need to review your insurance policy to determine the benefits to which you may be entitled such as medical payments and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. And, while you focus on recovering from your injuries, we will focus on getting you the maximum compensation reasonably possible.