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Category:  Automobiles

5 Steps to take at the Scene of an Accident to Ensure a Fair Settlement

by Richard Auger and Brenda Hollingsworth

If you are at the scene of an accident, there are steps you can take that will help you later on when seeking fair compensation for your injuries:

TIP #1: Make sure that you get appropriate medical care promptly. Call 9-1-1. Let trained medical professionals evaluate your injuries and take you to the hospital if needed.

TIP #2: When you speak to the police about the accident, tell the truth but only the truth. Many accident victims speculate about the extent of their injuries or the cause of the accident at a time when they are upset and may lack information. Anything you say to the police, even if it is only conjecture on your part, may show up in a police report. Limit your statement to the facts you know. Ask the attending police officer for his or her badge number.

TIP #3: If your injuries permit, get as much information as you can about any other vehicles involved in the accident. Get the driver's name; the car owner's name; the make, model, year, color and condition of the vehicle; the vehicle's license plate number; the driver's and owner's addresses; and the name of the driver's and owner's insurance companies. Much of this information is usually on the police report. Get a copy of the police report and keep it in a safe place.

TIP #4: Make notes about the accident scene, either at the scene or as soon as you can after leaving. Write down (a) the approximate address or cross street; (b) the direction the cars were traveling; (c) the direction any vehicle was turning; (d) the position the vehicles were stopped following the collision; (e) the weather conditions, including whether the roads were clear; (f) the time of day and the position of the sun; (g) the road conditions (unusual pot holes, debris); (h) any traffic signals or signs including speed limit postings; (i) the identification of any witnesses including names, addresses and telephone numbers. A photo is worth a 1000 words. Remember, many of us now have telephone cameras and can capture the scene that way.

TIP #5: Find out where any of the vehicles in the accident were towed... in case you need to find out more about the damage to any of the vehicles involved.

Not everyone is going to be able to take steps 1 to 5 at the time of an accident. If you can manage, great! If not, your personal injury lawyer can help you collect the information you need.

Richard Auger and Brenda Hollingsworth are personal injury trial lawyers in Ottawa, Canada. They represent adult and child clients in car accident, pedestrian accidents, cycling accidents, slips and falls and defective product cases. Brenda and Richard offer a free book: "An injured Victim's Guide to Fair Compensation". For more information visit , email or call 613 233-4529.


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