1.) Assess the situation. Is it a minor fender bender or is it more involved. Are you Ok? If you’re Ok, Check and see if anyone else is hurt do they need medical assistance? If so Call 911 or make sure someone else is calling for you if you don’t have a phone. While waiting for medical aid help try and keep anyone injured calm and still until medical assistance arrives.
2.) Don’t discuss how the wreck occurred until the police arrive. Tell the opposing driver you would like to exchange information. Take pictures. Start with the other driver and then their license plates then take pictures of every one at the scene. Ask for names, phone numbers and addresses of any witnesses and the other driver. Don't rely on the police officer to get them.
3.) Now collect as much evidence as possible. Take lots of pictures of the wreck itself. Take pictures of skid marks, pieces of the automobiles in relation to the cars. Take photographs of bruises and cuts while they exist. Each picture is worth a thousand words. If you don't take pictures immediately, the evidence may be lost forever and your case may suffer. Even if you have a digital camera on your cell phone or handheld device, you should buy a disposable camera to leave in your vehicle you never know when an accident is going to happen. Your battery in cell phone may be dead or you may have forgotten your cell phone. Planning ahead is always best.
4.) Go see a doctor right after the police have arrived and finished their investigation of the auto accident, even if you feel that your injuries are slight or non-existent. Why? Frequently, people do not feel pain immediately after an automobile wreck. Though they are stiff and in pain the next day. Pain sometimes takes several days or even weeks before the pain appears. A doctor will be able to document your injuries and help you get the treatment that you need.
5.) Be careful when talking to insurance adjusters. These "friendly sounding" people are not working for you. Even when speaking with your insurance company. Their job is to keep the money they payout as low as possible. Frequently, claims adjuster will record your telephone conversations. This is for their protection, not yours. Many people make misstatements when speaking to adjusters and as a result significantly lower the value of their claim. Lawyers and Attorneys often, advise their clients to avoid discussing their case with anyone, including friends and relatives. When it comes to legal matters, even the most innocent comment could come back to haunt you. They always say refer all questions about your case to your lawyer.
6.) Take responsibility. No one knows how you feel as much as you do. You only have one body and you have to live in the rest of your life. Follow up with your doctor. If your doctor says everything looks normal and you don’t feel normal. Seek a second opinion. Remember many people do not take action hoping their pain will go away and it doesn’t. Most injuries don’t heal properly without professional medical help. By waiting to treat injuries, unfortunately it raises the question when and where you were injured? Protect your interests and treat your injuries immediately. Do some research on other types of treatment such as acupuncture and medical massage which should include neuromuscular massage therapy, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, these are treatments that research shows best help soft tissue injuries. Remember No one will care more about your health than you do.
7.) Be Honest. When comes to your treatment and your settlement honesty is the best policy. Any pre-existing conditions are going to be found. It’s best for the medical providers to have your full medical history so they can give you the best care. It’s important for you Lawyer or Attorney to have ALL the facts. If information pops up later it can be used to make you look like a liar. It’s always best to give the people helping you all the information so they can get you the best results. Juries like to give big awards to honest people.
8.) Be patient. Don’t be in a hurry to put the injury and case behind you. It takes time to know the full extent of your injuries. Massage and Physical therapists often state that it takes 8 weeks for a new muscle tissue to fully mature. At the end of this process the new muscle tissue shrinks and hardens at that time pain often reappears.
For this reason it is advised not to think about settling your case until you have been pain free for at least 8 weeks.
9) Interview at least 2 Lawyers or Attorneys before hiring one. Initial consultations are usually free so take your time and make sure you’re hiring someone that you’re comfortable with.
10) Smile and remember you will get through this.