You were struck and it's clearly not your fault! If at all possible, don't remove your vehicle until the police arrive, allowing them to ensure whatever evidence that may be important.
The Eye Witness: If you have a pad and pen with you, it's not a good idea to ask, "Did you witness this?" More often than not that will turn them off!It's much better to ask, "What happened here?" If the individual is willing to talk don't insist, "Give me a written statement," because that seems too formal or demanding. Since you're obviously busy, hand them the pad and pen and say something like, "Please, while I take some photograph (or whatever), just write down what you saw." Then go on about your business.
When that person is finished, thank them profoundly and say something like, "I'll go over this later. In case I can't make something out, please, give me your name and a phone number where I can reach you if I have any questions."
More often than not if you read their statement and then insist, "Sign this," you'll put them on the defensive. With a statement in their handwriting, it can later be concluded that the statement is indeed theirs. If they sign it great, but don't make an issue of it because you want them on your side!
Always remember: Because a witness may seem credible, and they think what they're saying is true, doesn't mean they're correct. Credibility and honesty have nothing to do with if their memories slip a bit. That's why (since memories and honesty have nothing to do with it) you should try to get it in writing!
Refusing medical attention at the scene
Many people (even when they feel pain) will refuse medical attention at the scene and go home. Then, after several hours of increasing pain, they'll need help. Should they end up dealing with the typical Insurance Adjuster (who is quick to assume they're being conned by another crooked individual), they're told that the pain they allegedly felt had nothing to do with an injury! That's the reason why one should immediately (either by ambulance or somehow be driven there) demand they be brought to the closest Emergency Room.
Whenever you've been the victim of somebody else's lack of care while operating their motor vehicle, it's very important that you immediately contact the local police department.
Don't listen to the other operator who may say, "Hey, we'll handle this ourselves."
You must never forget: The individual making such a statement may possibly tell a completely different story (than the one they tell you at the scene) when the matter is discussed with the police and/or their own insurance company.
Also: There's a "Time-Lapse Of Memory" thing which (more often than not) comes into play. Many times witnesses are much better at articulating a circumstance -- even if they're dead wrong!
An "Honest Person" may tell it exactly the way it was, but they may not seem convincing; whereas a "Practiced Liar" can often persuade people to believe their story to be true -- when it's not!
Additionally: Every driver should always have the five following items in their vehicle at all times!
-- A paper and pen to take down notes in the event of an accident.
-- A list of all emergency phone numbers.
-- A disposable camera to record evidence at the scene of an accident.
-- A list of medical conditions or allergies you may have.
-- A set of cones, warning triangles, or emergency flares to alert other drivers of an accident.
(Most of these items can be kept in the glove compartment or in the trunk of your vehicle).
DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this article "How To Handle Yourself at Your Motor Vehicle Accident Scene" is to help people understand the motor vehicle accident claim process. Neither Grandpa Dan Baldyga, Grandpa Terry Rigg nor BUDGET STRETCHER make any guarantee whatsoever, NOR do they purport to engage in rendering any legal service, NOR to substitute for a lawyer, an insurance adjuster, or claims consultant, or the like. Where such professional help is desired it is the INDIVIDUAL’S RESPONSIBILITY to obtain such services.
Dan Baldyga’s third and latest book, Auto Accident Personal Injury Insurance Claim (How To Evaluate And Settle Your Loss) can be found on the Internet at http://www.caraccidentclaims.com or http://www.autoaccidentclaims.com. This book reveals how to handle your property damage claim so you won't be taken advantage of. It also goes into detail regarding BASE (the Baldyga Settlement Evaluation Formula). The BASE Formula explains how to determine the value of the Pain and Suffering you endured -- because of your personal injury!.© 2006 Dan Baldyga
The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal, financial, or medical professional.