Below is a list of things you can do immediately after a car accident to protect your rights.
1. Obtain witness information
After an accident, try to find some witnesses who saw how the accident happened and collect their names, phone numbers and addresses. They can provide valuable information to help you prove how the accident happened and who was at fault.
2. Take photographs of the accident scene
Immediately after an accident, if possible, you should take photos of the scene of the accident, including, where vehicles came to rest, any skid marks on the road, all vehicles and objects involved in the accident, debris on the road, traffic lights or road signs and landmarks around the area of the accident. Such photos can help you prove what caused the collision.
3. Take photographs of the vehicle damage
It is important for you to take photographs of the exterior damages to your vehicle, and other vehicles/objects involved in the accident. You should also take photos of any interior damage or activated airbags in the vehicles. Take these photos at the scene of the accident because, sometimes, car parts are moved or lost after the vehicles are removed from the scene of the accident.
Such photos can become valuable evidence that will help us prove the severity of the impact in the collision. They can be used to help persuade an insurer or Court that your injuries are as serious as you claim and that you are deserving of full compensation for your losses.
4. Take photographs of your injuries
Taking photographs of any visible injuries after an accident may become valuable evidence that will assist in your claims for Accident Benefits with your own insurer or your tort claims against the at-fault driver.
5. Get medical help from a doctor
You should visit a hospital, family doctor or walk-in clinic after an accident in order to create medical records documenting your symptoms. Those records will become important evidence in your case. This evidence is necessary in order to prove that your injuries were caused by the collision. You can only recover compensation from another driver after an accident only if you can prove that the injuries happened because of the accident. If you do not seek immediate medical attention after an accident, it may be harder to later prove that the accident caused your symptoms.
6. Be thorough in describing your symptoms
Be thorough when describing your symptoms after an accident by mentioning not just the major sources of pain and difficulty, but all your symptoms, big and small. After an accident, you might describe your symptoms to a police officer, paramedics, your family doctor, hospital doctors, nurses and staff and rehabilitation clinic staff. It is very important that you don’t just tell them about your major areas of pain, but all areas of pain.
This is because later on, those major areas of pain which you feel in the days after an accident may heal but the other, lesser symptoms may not heal. If you didn’t mention those lesser areas of pain right after the accident, then it will be harder for you to prove the accident caused those symptoms.
It is also important to be thorough in order that your health care providers can do the best possible job of treating you.
7. Undergo recommended treatment
If your doctors or healthcare providers recommend certain types of treatment, you should follow their recommendations. It’s very important that you at least try all their treatment recommendations. If some of the treatments don’t wall work for you, or make your pain worse, let your doctors know. If you area ideologically opposed to certain types of treatment for ethical reasons, let your doctors know. Ideally, you should participate in all recommended treatment for as long as your doctors and healthcare providers recommend it.
This is important because personal injury victims are legally obligated to “mitigate their damages”. This means they must take reasonable steps to maximize their medical recovery and minimize their losses stemming from the accident. If you fail to do this, you may not be able to collect full compensation for your losses. That’s because you might be partly responsible (not just the at-fault driver) for causing your on-going pain and losses.
8. Notify your auto insurer
If you are insured under a policy of auto insurance at the time of the accident, you should notify your auto insurer immediately after an accident. In Ontario, you are legally obliged to do so.
9. Contact a personal injury lawyer
At Kagan Law Firm P.C., our lawyers would be happy to speak with you, free of charge, in order to learn if you have a case, to assess the potential value of your case, and to assist you with accessing the resources and help that you need now, before your case settles.
10. Refrain from accepting responsibility or making statements suggesting fault
Determining who is at fault in a collision can be a complex and technical question. By admitting fault, you could give up your right to claim compensation and you could become responsible for compensating others for their injuries. You don’t need to assess fault for an accident. An investigation of the accident will be conducted by the police, insurance companies, lawyers and engineers to determine the actual cause of the collision.
If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, there are things you need to do to protect your rights. We’re here to help. Call Kagan Law Firm to learn if you have a case, the potential value of your case, and for help accessing the resources you need to reach maximal recovery.
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