Car accident victims are overwhelmed with a number of immediate practical and emotional concerns – it’s no wonder some items are overlooked in the process. Unfortunately, some factors can come back to haunt you if not properly attended to in the wake of an accident.
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Below are seven things car accident victims commonly forget to do after a collision.
1. Get Names and Contact Information
Exchange full names and contact information (phone number, email addresses) with everyone involved in the accident. This includes passengers and witnesses, as well as all other drivers.
Ensure you get insurance information and license plate numbers for any vehicle involved in the crash. This information is crucial in the event you pursue a personal injury claim against a negligent driver.
2. Take Photos of the Accident Scene
Take photos of the crash scene and vehicle damage if your injuries will allow. Capture images of any roadway hazards and evidence such as tire marks, debris and wreckage.
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3. Choose Words Carefully
Emotions run high immediately after an accident. Refrain from talking about fault or liability with other drivers or witnesses. Phrases like, “It’s all your fault,” or, “I’m so sorry,” can damage your potential case. Likewise, exercise caution when speaking to insurance adjusters about your accident and injuries.
4. Report the Accident to the Proper Authorities
All accidents should be reported promptly to local authorities. You may be required to travel to a Collision Reporting Centre if police decline to respond to the scene of the accident. They may decline only in cases where there are no injuries and minimal property damage. You must report to a Centre within 24 hours of the incident.
5. Maintain All Receipts and Bills
Save all documentation of your out-of-pocket accident expenses. This includes:
- doctor or hospital bills not covered by OHIP;
- towing receipts;
- prescription drug costs;
- receipts to replace damaged or destroyed personal items (eyeglasses, dentures, clothing and so on); and
- assistive devices (crutches, wheelchair and so on).
Keep documents in a central location and provide them to your personal injury lawyer. He or she can use this information to put a value on your claim.
6. Create a Detailed Accident Account
Write down as many details as you can about the accident while the memories are fresh. This includes:
- weather, traffic and road conditions;
- how the accident occurred;
- the other driver’s actions;
- any pain you experienced immediately after the accident; and
This account may help your lawyer in investigating your accident and establishing liability.
7. Apply for Accident Benefits within the Required Timeframe
You must report your accident to your insurance company within seven days of the incident. You then must apply for Accident Benefits within 30 days. Accident victims who overlook this step – or are unaware of the deadlines – may lose the right to full compensation. Learn more about what to do after a collision by calling Preszler Law in Ontario at 1-800-JUSTICE® for a free case evaluation.