Tips and Resources for Dealing with and Preventing Injury Claims.
In this issue
- Shocking Statistics on Seat Belt Use.
- Georgia Crime Victims' Fund.
- Wreck – What to do at the scene.
- Wreck – What to do after leaving the scene.
What To Do If You are in a Wreck – At the Scene.
- Get the other driver's name, tag and license information, insurance company name and policy number, home address and phone number if possible.
- Cooperate with the police.
- Take pictures.
- Take notes; diagram the scene. Write down what happened for your eyes only and your attorney. Do not admit fault. If it's your fault, this may sound unfair. The problem is that the issue of fault is often not determined until an objective review of what happened is conducted. Don't admit fault without knowing what happened and deliberating over it when you are in a safe location and have a chance to reflect on what happened.
- If possible, get information about witnesses including their names, contact information and what they saw. Do not offer your story to the witness or anyone else other than the police officer. Don't admit fault unless it is indisputable. There is plenty of time to give thought to your role in the wreck later and assess your role in the wreck. Don't admit something at the scene because it may just be your emotions/feelings controlling your thoughts or your misunderstanding about what happened. If you are concerned about criminal charges being brought against you, you may want to insist on speaking to a lawyer. If you are reading this, you probably were the victim of the wreck and are not at fault or subject to criminal process.
- If you are hurt, clearly communicate this to the police officer; otherwise, the report will show “no injuries” which is not necessarily an accurate statement but which might be accepted as true by a jury months or years after the wreck. Often, if you are not visibly hurt (bleeding, for instance) or if you do not leave the scene in an ambulance, the police officer will note in his report “no injuries.” Again, this is not necessarily an accurate statement but a jury might find it persuasive.
- If even remotely necessary, seek medical attention. Better safe than sorry. Some serious injuries are not readily detected immediately, at the scene or simply by “how you feel” at the moment. For example, internal organ damage from something as simple as a malfunctioning seat belt can be deadly. Or, a broken bone/vertebra in your neck may not cause immediate symptoms or show up on initial x-rays. Listen to the professionals. Listen to your body, although you may be jacked up on adrenaline which might mask your pain/injury. Use common sense.
- Your car: If your car is drivable, take it as immediately as possible to be checked out by a trusted mechanic or dealer even if you do not observe visible damage.