In 2010 I was in a wreck myself, I was struck by a semi-tractor trailer. It certainly was not the right time to begin deciding on what to do, or what action to take. I honestly did not believe I was hurt and told the investigating officer I was not injured. My car was a total loss, my daughter picked me up, and I went home, fully expecting that I would be sore for a few days and then get over it. I stayed on the sofa for about 5 days, and only then went to the doctor. Ultimately, I had surgery on my neck, fusion at two levels, and a disk removed. What should I have done differently?
I am not a doctor, I should have immediately made an appointment with one, and been checked out, even if I believed I only had minor bruising. If there is an ambulance called to the scene, (which there was not), I could have been checked by them. I could have gone to the emergency room, explained my symptoms, and been treated.
I should have taken pictures at the scene. Photos showing gouge marks in the roadway are important evidence. Photos showing the position of vehicles cannot be re-created later. These too are important evidence, and cannot be re-created later.
I should have gotten the information of witnesses present at the scene, their version of what they saw, who hit who, where their vehicle was located, and what they saw happen. Unbelievably witnesses are often at the scene, and no one gets their contact information. Get their phone numbers.
I should have called my insurance carrier. I didn’t because I didn’t anticipate making a claim. You should always call your carrier, so they can begin gathering information if necessary.
I should have gotten a copy of the insurance information from the other driver. You can take a picture of their insurance card with your cell phone, and then you have their policy number if you need it.
I should have taken a picture of the other driver. If he isn’t wearing glasses when he exits the vehicle, but he has a restriction on his license, it might help prove what happened.
I should have gotten the investigating officer’s information. In Kentucky, after a wreck, the police officer who investigates the accident will do a report that a lawyer can purchase for $10.00. In order to do so, it is useful to have the officer’s name, the department he is employed by, his badge number, and the code he writes on the card he will give you. If you lose the card but have the other information, you can usually get a copy of the accident report without much trouble.
I should have had my proof of insurance card and my registration on top in my glove box. When the police officer shows up, he will always ask for this information first. Having it handy makes it easier to find, and that is a good thing when you are upset and have adrenaline coursing through your veins.
I should have made notes for myself of everything I saw happen, how it happened, and what caused it. This is what lawyers call “past recollection recorded” and writing it down in close proximity to the event may result in it being admissible evidence at trial.
I am a lawyer practicing in Louisville, Kentucky. I live in Shelby County, Kentucky, and drive Interstate 64 daily. I see automobile wrecks, and the devastation they cause. I represent people injured in these wrecks. If you would like to meet with me for a no-obligation first meeting, give me a call. My number is on this website.