The short answer: TO PROTECT YOURSELF!!
Being involved in a car accident is a very traumatic and emotional experience. Immediately after an accident occurs, there are competing thoughts racing through your mind:
- How badly am I injured?
- Is the other driver injured?
- Why did the other driver hit me?
- How bad is the damage to my car?
- Who is going to pay for this?
- Am I going to be out of work because of this accident?
- How will I take care of my family?
These thoughts occur literally within seconds after an accident even though it suddenly feels like everything is moving in slow motion. Thankfully, only a small percentage of motor vehicle accidents result in death. But, many accidents do result in injuries which you do not immediately feel after an accident. Most often this is because of the emotions that you are going through and the adrenaline that is flowing after the accident.
After such a traumatic experience, most people do not know what to do. Many people have never been involved in any kind of motor vehicle accident before. The biggest mistake that you can make after an accident is to think that anyone who is asking if you are okay is really concerned for you.
Here are some of the things you should NOT do after an accident:
- DO NOT REPRESENT YOURSELF! The other driver is going to report the accident to their insurance company immediately. The moment the insurance company is notified that their insured was involved in an accident, they are going to start their investigation. Their primary goal is to put as much blame as possible on you for the accident. Most people have never had to work with another person’s insurance company – they are not your friend! When they start asking questions, tell them you are represented by Haddad & Associates. Provide them with our telephone number and tell them to call our office. We will take care of you!
- If ANYONE asks you at the scene of the accident if you are injured, DO NOT SAY NO or tell anyone that you are okay! It sometimes takes hours, days or even weeks before you will know the full extent of your injuries.
- Do not tell ANYONE that the accident was your fault- even if you think it was somehow partly your fault. After you retain our firm we will fully investigate the circumstances of the accident to determine the responsible party(ies).
- Do NOT refuse to be examined at the scene of the accident by EMT. Even if you do not want to go to the hospital from the scene, and decide to go later, let EMT do an assessment. If anything is hurting you tell EMT. You may have a twinge in your neck or a slight headache. Tell them.
- If you feel like you need to be taken to the hospital from the scene DO NOT REFUSE to go to the hospital.
Immediately after an accident occurs, be sure to do the following:
- Do get the identification information and insurance from the other driver, including writing down their license plate.
- Do contact 911 to come to the scene and complete an accident report. Be sure to get a card from the law enforcement officer with the accident report number on it so we can obtain a copy of the complete accident report.
- Do take a picture of the scene of the accident BEFORE you move the vehicles from the accident scene, if safe to do so. Also take pictures of the surrounding area including any traffic signs that the other driver may have had, such as a stop sign or a yield sign.
- Do contact our offices to schedule a consultation to come in so that we can protect you from the other driver’s insurance company and their investigators. Their primary goal is to protect their insured and minimize their company’s liability to fairly compensate you for your injuries and damages. Our primary goal is to take care of you and your needs. You need to get medical attention, your property damage needs to be fixed and, if your injuries are severe enough that you cannot work, even on a temporary basis, you need to be paid for your loss of income if there is coverage on your PIP policy for it.
The best protection you can have after an auto accident is to retain Haddad & Associates. We have been representing accident victims and their families for over 20 years. We provide legal representation for individuals or families who have sustained injuries in any kind of accident that is a result of the negligence of another person or corporation. Our consultations are FREE, and we do not get paid until we make a recovery to compensate you.
Call at our office at 727-299-0449 for a free consultation.