Seeking Immediate Medical Attention
If you have been injured in an accident of any kind, you need to seek medical attention right away. Many people think they are “fine” and refuse medical treatment, only to experience problems at some point down the line. Others may prefer their own doctor to emergency personnel. When you do this, you make it easy for an insurance company to downgrade or even drop your claim. Going back and saying you did not realize how bad it was at the time or you were not in enough discomfort to get treated by someone else can be very hard to prove.
It is also crucial that you are examined immediately following the accident to show that your injuries were caused by the accident. It is important for a medical professional to document all injuries to ensure your case is properly supported. If emergency personnel were not contacted, you should get to your healthcare provider immediately and let him or her know about all of your injuries, any pain you are experiencing, as well as any discomfort. It is better that you tell them everything in greater detail than you think is necessary than it is for you to potentially leave something out.
Reporting to the Police
Police are required to write a report after they have left the scene of an accident or crime. These reports are important to you for the sake of having a third-party professional document what happened to you. Police officers are trained to take down all important details of the actual event, witness information, and a million other things you might not think of at the time. If an insurance company is going to engage in or defend a lawsuit, you can be sure they will use a police report as evidence. The legal system considers police reports as one of few documents to be inherently reliable. Because of this, a police report is introduced as fact in the court room and can be used to demonstrate liability for the accident. It also provides documentation of damages, whether any arrests were made, and what, if any, medical care was provided at the scene.
Do I take photos?
If you experience a personal injury as the result of an accident of any kind, it is very important to take photos. You should utilize any photographic device necessary, whether you use a camera or a camera phone. Take photos of the overall scene so it is easier for your New York personal injury attorney and/or insurance adjuster to get a better idea of the accident as a whole. Make sure you are safe when doing so! Do not stand in the way of oncoming traffic or risk your safety or anyone else’s.
Take several photos of any damage and any injuries from several different angles. It may be necessary to take pictures of injuries such as bruises later because they did not show up right away. If the accident involved vehicles, take pictures of all involved vehicles, any skid marks, license plates, and damage to surrounding property. Take photos of the area surrounding the scene of the accident, including any street signs. Include photos of the weather conditions in cases that include wet roadways or other foul weather evidence.
Should I get insurance and other personal information?
Although there are many types of personal injuries that would not necessitate getting a person’s insurance information at the scene of the accident (i.e. workplace injuries), such incidents as car accidents require getting more information when another party is involved. In these types of situations, you need to ask to see the driver’s license and take down the number. Get the name or names of anyone involved as well as addresses, and phone numbers. Get the insurance company name and, more importantly, policy number. If the person driving the vehicle is not the owner, get the owner’s information as well.
Do I get names of witnesses?
Yes. It is always better to ask for more information than to look back and wish you had asked certain questions. Get the names and contact information (a phone number and email address will do) for anyone who witnessed the accident and is capable of testifying about what he/she saw.
Why Caps on Pain and Suffering Do Not Work
You cannot put a cap on pain and suffering. To put a cap on these would be to assume that all pain and suffering is experienced on the same level across the board. While the cap would not limit economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, it would keep everyone from receiving over a certain amount of money for their physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering, no matter how bad the accident or how great the pain.