If you are involved in a car accident in Arizona, after assessing your injuries, your first call should be to contact 911 and your second call, should be to an attorney.
Car accidents are jarring and can shake the calmest of people to their core. The mistakes made the day of the car accident–and in the days that follow–can harm the victim’s future ability to secure maximum compensation for medical bills, lost wages and damage to your vehicle or other property. Your ability to recover, both financially and physically, from a car accident can hinge on making sure you do everything correctly. It is vital that you do not do anything that can hinder the process of getting satisfaction for a costly accident that you did nothing to cause.
If you have been in an accident, we prepared this post with you in mind.
We have put together this checklist of five critical actions to take in the advent of a car accident:
- Report the accident immediately to the police and provide a full accounting of any potential injuries you might have sustained to the police. Too often, people underestimate their injuries and make statementsminimizing their pain only to learn later in the day or in the days to follow, that more serious and painful injuries DID occur.
- Even though the police are collecting information for their report, get all the other contact and insurance information, license plate numbers and car descriptions from all parties involved—vehicle operators and potential witnesses—on your own. Write down or record on your cell phone any notes or accounts of everything you remember happening and take photos as well. What kind of pictures? Shoot pictures of all the vehicles, of the intersection, of the roadway, of your injuries, and of others’ injuries. If you believe you have taken a lot of photos, take a few more.
- Allow any medical transport or EMTs onsite to examine you, and make an appointment immediately with your physician or if you cannot get an appointment immediately, pay a visit to an urgent care for a full examination.
- Call a reputable personal injury attorney immediately and direct any calls from insurance providers, yours and representatives of other drivers, to speak to your attorney.
Do NOT: Offer information to anyone of any kind. Anything you say can be used against you.Make any apologies, statements of fault or what you did or did not “mean” to do.
Make any speculative remarks about what you “think” you saw or “guessed” someone was doing. Say Nothing unless you are 100 percent sure of what you are saying.
- The trauma people experience after being in a car accident can often be delayed. Focus on your recovery both physically and emotionally, and allow your attorney to speak on your behalf.
Create a Personal History After the Car Accident
Memory can play many games with us, particularly after a stressful incident like a car accident. The days that follow the car accident may bring new recollections of what happened after you have a chance to calm down. You also may begin receiving treatment for your injuries and will want a record of what happened and when. Take the time to begin recording a personal journal of what you are experiencing immediately after the accident and in the days that follow. You will be much clearer as you sit and write what is happening than you will be 30 days or more later when you are asked to explain your treatment trajectory, what happened with your car repairs, and even what you are experiencing emotionally after the accident. This journal may never be needed, but if it is, the wealth of immediate information you are recording will be accurate and very helpful if called upon.
Car accidents can be complicated and although Arizona requires drivers to own a minimum amount of liability insurance, problems can still arise. If an accident involves multiple drivers, it is possible there will be multiple insurance companies involved. A qualified, experienced personal injury attorney can be the deciding factor between a successful outcome for you and a long, drawn-out process that leaves you suffering waiting for help with bills for your vehicle, your treatment, or your loss of work. At West, Longenbaugh and Zickerman, we are available to see that you get the compensation you deserve as quickly as possible. Our job is to work for you, your job is to recover. Call our office today.