BY JEFFREY ADELMAN
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, here are 10 helpful tips to preserve your claim:
- See if anyone in your vehicle is injured, as well as the other vehicle.
- Call the police from the accident scene to report the crash. Do not rely on the other driver giving you insurance information in the event that the information he/she provides you is wrong or incomplete.
- Get the names, addresses and phone numbers of any and all witnesses to your accident. If someone stops at the scene to help you, get their information.
- If you have a camera in your vehicle or a cell phone with a camera, take photographs of the vehicles and the accident scene if you are able to do so.
- Do not make any statements to the driver of the other vehicle concerning who is at fault for the accident.
- If you are hurt, treat with a hospital or medical provider immediately.
- Call your insurance company with the claim for the purposes of obtaining a claim number, but DO NOT give a recorded statement if you have plans to hire an attorney.
- Hire an attorney. It is in your best interests to hire a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident, as insurance companies may try to take advantage of unrepresented victims of accidents. Insurance companies have been known to ask accident victims to give recorded statements, or sign papers that are potentially harmful to your claim. Additionally, work on injury claims is handled on a contingency basis, so you will not owe the attorney any money unless he/she makes a recovery for you.
- Once you have hired an attorney, do not speak to ANYONE about any issue relating to your claim. You should direct anyone inquiring about your accident to speak with your attorney, and get their name, number, and who he/she represents.
- Turn over to your attorney all documents, medical records, or other potential evidence that could be helpful in prosecuting your claim. If you have a doubt, provide the item to your lawyer.
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