Essential steps to take if involved in motor vehicle accident?
1. When asked how you’re feeling, don’t take the socially expected way out by saying “Fine”. Fine can be misunderstood as a diagnosis and opposing counsel may use it against you. TELL THE TRUTH “I don’t know, I’ve just been in an accident”.
2. Exchange information with the other driver while you are seated, not standing. If possible photograph his/her data. Don’t risk getting the data misspelled or wrong or thinking you can write and remember.
3. Have someone, NOT YOU, take a 360-degree video of your vehicle with your cell phone so your personal property damage record is perpetuated.
4. DON’T DRIVE!!! Driving yourself from the scene would suggest you are well enough to negotiate traffic, make decisions, overcome pain, etc. Although that may be true, it is also true that the adrenaline going through your body may be overriding the difficulties you may later feel when the adrenaline has subsided and opposing counsel may use it against you.
5. Ask a personal friend, passenger, to drive your car.
6. DON’T REFUSE AN AMBULANCE!! You are not a physician, and if you are you have a fool for a doctor. DON’T Diagnose your condition. Some persons who refuse an ambulance find out later that they have unnecessarily risked their lives because of a medical condition that was undiagnosed at the scene.
7. DON’T GO TO WORK! DON’T PICK THE KIDS UP AT SCHOOL! DON’T RETURN TO BUSINESS AS USUAL Its not usual to be involved in an accident. Call work and ask for a day off or an emergency FMLA. Call a family member and have them pick up the children.
8. Call your physician. Ask for his next available appointment. Tell his/her receptionist you were in an accident, whether you were knocked unconscious, whether you are bleeding, whether you broke anything that you know of and which hospital you are going to or where you were taken. Not contacting your physician may be used by opposing counsel against you (does this sound repetitive, IT SHOULD!).
9. If you are in counseling call your therapist and tell them the same thing you told your physician.
10. DON’T CALL YOUR ATTORNEY FOR 24 HOURS. Calling your attorney is VERY IMPORTANT, but if you call them immediately opposing counsel will see your injury as less than credible. DO CALL YOUR ATTORNEY as ., said, before you speak to the insurance company.
11. Call your attorney and get their advice as to what to do next. Hope is not a plan of action. Take this list and put it in your car, next to your registration, NOW.
This is not legal or medical advice. I offer this to all those who have been in an accident, whether they are the person who hit the other car or whose car was not at fault. Speak to your physician or attorney before taking any of these steps, even before you are ever in an accident, and follow their advice. Offered as a public service after evaluating 100’s of motor vehicle crash victims for 44 years. Dr. Ken Manges Website: Drmanges.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Attorney referrals welcomed.