Any time you’re in a car accident, whether it’s a major incident or just a fender bender, you’ll be faced with some important decisions. Those decisions can make all the difference in how you’re compensated in the aftermath. There’s several actions you can take to stay safe and make sure you aren’t being taken advantage of in the wake of such an unfortunate event. Here’s a short checklist to keep in mind from Fitz & Roller, your car accident lawyer in Buffalo NY.
File a Report with the Authorities
The first thing you should always do after an accident, that is after you’ve made sure everybody is alright, is call the police. Most people will opt to skip this step, especially for a minor accident. Calling the police is important because they will file an official report detailing the accident. If you fail to call the police, any claim you might make could boil down to your word against that of the other involved party. This makes it increasingly difficult for a judge or an insurance company to come to any final conclusions about who is liable for the damages.
Seek a Medical Opinion
Getting checked out by a medical professional is the next logical step. After all, discomfort might seem minor at the time but could lead to more serious problems down the road. Additionally, as with calling the police, getting a complete unbiased survey of the situation is crucial. Having a doctor document the extent of the injuries sustained will be an invaluable resource and will eliminate any grey area when it comes time for the claim to be settled.
Although it might be your natural reaction, apologizing should be avoided. Saying you’re sorry might be an effective way to reduce the tension of the situation but it also implies fault. Even if the other driver was clearly responsible, the fact that you apologized could be used against you if the case goes to trial. It’s best to avoid this phrase and let the judge, insurance agent, and your Buffalo car accident lawyer draw their own conclusions based on the facts of the case and your testimony.
Just The Facts
In that same vein, don’t let your testimony imply where the blame lies. It’s always best to explain exactly what happened from your perspective and nothing more. Some people may be tempted to embellish the story they tell to make it seem like they weren’t at fault. Do not do this! It’s important that the facts are clearly laid out for your Buffalo car accident lawyer so that they can provide the best possible council.