What is said or done in the immediate aftermath of an accident can be critical in terms of the outcome of any claim for personal injury, so it is vitally important to ensure that you do not jeopardise your position unwittingly. Here are some of the dos and don’ts if you are involved in an accident, whether it is a road traffic accident, a slip or fall or an accident at work.
Do Not Discuss Fault
Although you may be in shock, it is very important to stay calm – which may be difficult if you know that what happened to you was not your fault. No matter what type of accident you have had it is important not to discuss how it happened or who was to blame. It may be tempting to apologise, even though the accident was not your fault, but this type of admission may affect your claim later on. It is also important not to make accusations.
Always report the accident, to the police in the case of a road accident or to staff on duty at the time if the accident occurs in premises open to the public.
Who is at fault may be immediately clear to you but there could be many months of legal wrangling ahead over the facts. For this reason, it is important to gather as much evidence as possible to support your case. If your mobile phone has a camera on it, take photographs of the scene. If it is not possible to do so at the time, return afterwards and take pictures then. If anyone else witnessed the accident, obtain their name and address so that they can give evidence to support your claim. Is the area covered by CCTV? If so, can you obtain a copy of the footage as evidence?
Seek Medical Attention
Where you have sustained visible injuries, make sure you have photographic evidence of these. You may not be aware of the full extent of the damage caused for some hours or even days after the accident. You should keep a record of any pain or other symptoms you suffer and seek medical attention as soon as practicable. Report all your symptoms, no matter how minor they may seem, including headaches, dizziness, forgetfulness and confusion.Even minor symptoms can have a significant impact on your day-to-day life if they persist.
After an accident, it is likely that the other party’s insurance company and solicitor will become involved in your case. There will usually be a number of parties working together to establish blame and reach a settlement if necessary. It is often the practice of insurance companies to try to settle claims quickly for less than their full worth. Victims may still be in shock and unable to think clearly about how an injury will affect their lives. There is no obligation for the injured person to accept the insurance company’s first offer. It makes sense to take independent legal advice in order to achieve an appropriate damages settlement.
If you are injured in an accident which is not your fault, contact us for advice. Beware of delay as there are strict time limits for pursuing a claim.