What Should You Do After You're Involved In An Automobile Accident?
An experienced Baltimore personal injury attorney will have specific recommendations about steps you need to take to protect yourself and your rights.
Your actions immediately after an automobile accident can actually impact what your case may ultimately be worth.
For years, major insurance companies have been circulating lists of post-accident advice, and many of the suggestions make sense. For example, State Farm advises that you "[d]on't sign any document unless it's for the police or your insurance agent; [m]ake immediate notes about the accident, including specific damages to all vehicles involved, witness information, etc; [d]on't tell anyone the accident was your fault, even if you think it was; [and to] state only the facts, and limit your discussion of the accident to the police and your insurance agent". While it's hard to argue with what your insurance company tells you to do, the list is hardly exhaustive.
An experienced personal injury attorney will advise you to consider medical attention promptly. Even if you do not feel you or family members are seriously injured, it is always a wise idea to let a medical professional make that determination for you. Obviously, if you were not hurt, it makes no sense to have a doctor tell you that you were, in fact, not hurt. No one should be responsible for needless medical expenses. I've had enough clients, perhaps in the 1000s of individuals, tell me that although they felt "shaken" after an accident, they did not immediately think they sustained an injury that would require medical attendance. The following day they were in pain, stiff, sore, swollen, and without their usual range of motion. The had a headache, and generally felt they'd been beaten. It's a very common progression, and I've seen and heard it countless times. If you think you been injured, it just makes sense to have a medical professional look at you. If you begin to feel worse in the days after an accident and believe you need medical attention, seek it promptly.
Secondly, take pictures of everything: the tags on the vehicles; the vehicles themselves-being careful to note any damage; the other drivers; the accident scene- noting stoplights, lane markings, direction of travel etc. Note the presence of police, city or commercial cameras. With 8 million cameras in the country, more and more things are recorded on video.
I also recommend that their clients that have sustained serious injury keep a "pain diary". A "pain diary" is a chronology of the days, weeks, and possibly months after the accident, detailing daily social, work or household activities that are made more difficult, or impossible, by the injuries from the accident. In some instances, an injury victim is not asked to recall the nature of their injuries until months, or years, later. The diary can be an invaluable document for recreating the process of healing and recuperation.
I also suggest you call the police, even if you believe that accident is minor, or will not be contested. I've seen it enough to know that things change and that someone who apologizes at the scene may later deny responsibility.
I frequently answer my phone for most hours of the day or night. If you have been involved in an accident do not hesitate to call me even if it is just to answer a question. I'm happy to help.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 3/21/19.