Documenting Injuries And Damages After A Car Accident
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
If you have been involved in a car accident there are several important things to document — at the scene and soon after — that can make a difference later.
At The Scene
Never leave the scene of an accident. If there are injuries, immediately call 911 for emergency medical treatment. If it’s not an emergency, no one is injured, vehicles are still safely driveable, and all parties agree, you don’t need to call the police immediately.
Instead, exchange basic information and contact the police and file a report later. In Michigan, according to the state vehicle code, you have 72 hours to report a minor accident to the police. It is important to report the accident and have a police report on file to provide proof that the accident occurred. Don’t forget to do this.
Other documentation to collect at the scene includes any photographs and/or videos, including tire/skid marks on the pavement, foliage/tree damage, damage to inside/outside of vehicles, and any other property damage.
If there are witnesses, get names and contact information. With a witness’ permission, you can also make a video recording of their statement about what happened immediately, while everything is still fresh in their mind.
Immediately following the accident create your own written report that includes the following information. It’s easiest and best to gather as much of this information as possible at the scene:
- Basic Data: Record the date of the accident, time, location, weather conditions, traffic conditions, road markings, etc.
- Vehicles Involved: Record the make, model, color, license number of the other vehicle(s). Indicate the number of passengers in each vehicle, the orientation and speed of each vehicle, and other details (i.e. use of direction signals).
- People Involved: Record the names and contact details for all driver(s) and passenger(s).
- Other Information: The other party’s insurance company information, names of police officers, and any other details about the auto accident that seem relevant.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. provides a free consultation to anyone involved in a car accident and has questions about their insurance coverage, the other driver’s liability for serious injuries, and how to recover adequate compensation.
If You Are Injured
If you are injured, documenting car accident injuries before it’s too late is essential to the claims process. You should document any emergency medical treatment you received, follow-up emergency room treatment at a hospital, and any ongoing treatment and rehabilitation services. If possible, include the names of all the medical professionals who have treated you since the accident.
Whether or not you are treated by a medical professional at the scene or at a nearby hospital, it is strongly recommended that you see a doctor or your primary care physician as soon as possible after the accident for a thorough evaluation.
Why? While many accident victims feel fine after receiving treatment at the scene of an accident, there are certain types of injuries where the symptoms may take days or even weeks to develop. Also, sometimes the full impact of an identified injury doesn’t emerge immediately.
These latent injures include cervical strain and herniated disc injuries, concussion and traumatic brain injuries, knee injuries, and soft tissue injuries to shoulders, hands, etc.
A visit to your doctor — including a doctor at a walk-in clinic — is important for your recovery, as well as providing baseline documentation should you ever need to prove that you took your injury seriously.
The professionals at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can meet with you at your convenience, in a place that is most comfortable for you, including our offices, your home, or some other location. If we decide to work together, we may recommend that a particular specialist be seen, or a test conducted, to provide us with indisputable evidence and testimony during settlement discussions, and if necessary, litigation in court.
No-Fault Car Insurance And PIP Coverage
Michigan is a no-fault state, which means that when you are in a car accident, one of the first calls you should make is to your insurance company. It doesn’t matter who the at-fault driver is.
Your no-fault auto insurance covers you, your family members and others injured in the accident with personal injury protection insurance (PIP). PIP benefits include coverage of your medical bills, a percentage of lost wages for up to three years, and other costs associated with your injuries and treatment.
In most cases, PIP coverage is all you need. But sometimes it isn’t, particularly if you are more seriously injured.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
Insurance companies make money by collecting as much money as they can in premiums and paying out as little as they can on claims. Despite lots of marketing messages that say they care, insurance companies are much more interested in their own bottom line than they are in compensating you adequately for your losses.
For minor accidents, you probably don’t need an attorney. But when the injuries are more significant, the services of a personal injury attorney at our law firm can help you significantly in any settlement negotiations or, if necessary, in filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages.
Senior partner Eileen Kroll specializes in medical cases at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. and can help you understand your situation from both a medical and legal perspective. Eileen’s training as a Registered Nurse is invaluable in evaluating your injuries — and all medical documentation — for legal purposes.
Statute of Limitations
Documenting car accident injuries and other damages begin at the scene of your accident. Depending on your case and other specifics, the statute of limitations on filing a personal injury lawsuit in Michigan is three years following the date of the accident.
Contact Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. toll-free (24 hours) at 1-866-MICH-LAW or use our convenient online contact form to schedule your no-obligation case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.