After an Accident: The First 48
There is a saying among police officers, at least the ones on TV, that the first 48 hours after a serious crime is the most critical period of an investigation because the trail quickly becomes cold. Although the window in a personal injury case is not quite as small, but the first few days after a car accident are very important. The more work a lawyer does during this period, the greater your chances of recovering fair compensation later.
The First Call
When you reach for your cell phone after an accident, don’t call the insurance company. Call a lawyer instead. Later, when you call your insurance company, report the accident but do not give details. You may accidentally say something that can be used against you later, or the representative from the insurance company may “remember” the call a bit differently.
If at all possible, go to your attorney’s office that same day. Although no money will change hands, there are important papers for you to review and sign, so your lawyer can properly and effectively represent you. This visit is also an excellent time to give a complete statement, because your memory will still be fresh and the initial shock of the collision will probably have worn off.
The Doctor Will See You Now
Whether or not you visited an emergency room, it’s very important to see a doctor with 24 hours of the crash, if at all possible. Trauma physicians in the ER may be distracted or otherwise unable to detect telltale signs of whiplash and other serious injuries.
An attorney can refer you to a medical professional who regularly handles car crash injuries. This doctor can effectively diagnose and treat these unique conditions, and prescribe appropriate medication and physical therapy. Typically, the doctor requires no money up front.
As a rule of thumb, most witnesses will not voluntarily choose to come forward. So, it is important to talk to as many people as possible. Most lawyers also send investigators to the scene to take photographs and collect physical evidence the police may have missed.
More and more, physical evidence includes Electronic Data Recorders and other “black boxes.” These devices record and store important data, like steering angle, vehicle speed, brake application, and other mechanical data. An attorney can send a spoliation letter to the insurance company, which puts them on notice to preserve the vehicle and any other evidence.
For a free consultation with a lawyer who gets to work quickly, contact an experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorney. We handle a wide range of injury law cases.