After the Accident – What to Do

After the Accident

When you have your accident it’s best know what to do so that you can avoid being victimized a second time by the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Over the years I have frequently discussed with my clients what to do when you have your accident. Notice I don’t say if you have an accident but when you have your accident! In Maricopa County the reality is that most of us will eventually be involved in an accident. So, when you do have your accident and you are naturally very stressed out it’s best know what to do so that you can avoid being victimized a second time by the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

PHOTOS

We’ve all heard it said: “One picture is worth a thousand words.” This saying is especially true for anyone who gets hurt by a negligent driver. Nothing beats photographic evidence. So, unless you’re incapacitated at the collision scene be sure to use your Smart phone to take lots of photos – of your damaged car, the other driver’s damaged car, the surrounding roadway, skid marks and photos of your injuries and those of the other driver if he/she shows signs of injury. Such photos will definitely increase the value of your case at settlement or trial time. Sure, you will be stressed if you are hit and feel injured but this simple rule to take lots of photos will save you a lot of stress later on.

THE OTHER DRIVER

At some future date you may again see the driver who hit you — if his insurance company decides it won’t settle with you and you have to sue. If that other driver has been drinking or taking any drugs – whether illegal or prescribed – he may be impaired. So, if you think the other driver is impaired this evidence at trial will have a powerful impact. Jury members don’t like people who get behind the wheel when impaired. And, those same jury members will want to punish that other driver and be generous with you if you can show that the guy who hit you was under the influence.

So, after the accident make sure you approach the other driver. Check him out. Can you smell alcohol, does he seem confused, is he unsteady on his feet, are his pupils wide open, is he looking flushed/red? If you see any of these tell-tale signs be sure you tell the police officer and let him know you think the other driver might be impaired.

WITNESSES

After the collision take a look around to determine if anyone has seen the accident. Talk to them. If they tell you they saw the other driver cause the accident ask them to wait for the police and be sure the police take their name, address and phone. If the witness can’t stay then you get their contact information and give it to the police.

THE POLICE

Always call 911 from the collision scene. Never let the other driver talk you out of calling the police. This is critical. The police will document the accident scene and your injuries and the conduct of the other driver. If the other driver decides to flee or leave before the police arrive take his license plate number and record the make and model of his car. Give this information to the police. You should never leave the accident scene before the police arrive.

You be the first to talk to the police officer. Tell him why you think the other driver was at fault. Point out witnesses to the officer. If you think the other driver is impaired tell this to the police officer and let him know why. The officer will ask you if you have been injured or feel hurt. If you have been injured tell the police how and where you were injured. Remember you are stressed and may be too agitated to even know what you’re feeling. Also, you won’t even begin to feel many injuries until hours or days have passed. So, I always recommend you don’t tell the police: “No” when the officer asks you if you’ve been injured. Instead, you should tell the police you are “not sure” and that you’ll get checked out by your doctor.

If you did get banged around, bruised or cut in the accident do not refuse the ambulance which the officer will suggest and be sure to go to the Emergency Room. This is essential for your physical well-being and to fully document your injuries.

The other driver’s insurance company is in the business of making money and that means keeping money out of your pocket. You will give the other driver’s insurance a big club to use against you at settlement time if in answering the police you say you were not injured. Remember, nearly all injuries get worse or begin to appear only after you leave the accident scene.

NEVER TALK TO THE OTHER DRIVER’S INSURANCE COMPANY

Anything you say to any insurance company will be documented. In most cases this means your statements will be recorded. Immediately after your accident you should call us at: 602-254-7740. In fact, call us right from the collision scene. If you do call an insurance company ONLY call YOUR insurance company. When you do so, give them the other driver’s name and his/her insurance information. Your insurance company will contact that other driver’s insurance. You should NEVER speak to the at-fault driver’s insurance. The claims representatives for the other driver have all been to school to learn how to take a statement from you that is to their advantage – to trick you into minimizing your injuries or to even get you to admit that perhaps you were at-fault in part or fully for the accident.

Once you come to our office we will have all contact with all the insurance companies. If you call your insurance company to report the accident tell them you’re going to see your attorney, that you’re feeling too sore or too confused to give a statement and that your attorney will arrange a statement with your company once you’re feeling calmer and in less pain.

After your accident I will want to meet with you right away. If you want or it’s necessary I can meet with you at your home or in the hospital. We will make sure your car is properly repaired or that you are fully compensated if it is a total loss. We will get you a rental car. We will handle all contacts with all insurance companies. All that you will have to do is take care of yourself, visit your doctor and get your rest so that you can recover as quickly as possible. Your job will be to get better, to get healthier. Our job is to get you all the money you should have from that other driver (‘a total stranger’) who caused a painful meeting with you on the roadway.

Don’t be a victim twice. Call us first: 602-254-7740.



Get Help Now! If we don’t Win...You don’t Pay. Call 602-254-7740 (24 hrs)

Act Quickly to Protect Your Rights

Describe Your Case

All entries are confidential and will be reviewed by Joseph Gmuca