After being injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you may feel helpless and not know what to do. One thing that can benefit all accident victims is seeking legal advice from an experienced auto accident lawyer. But in order to get the most out of your first consultation with your attorney, there are several things you should do first. Take the following steps before contacting an attorney after you're injured in a car accident:
Collect Contact Information from Witnesses
If possible, do your best to personally collect contact information from people at the scene who may have witnessed the accident happen. The police may include the contact information of one or two witnesses in the police report, but they don't always have the opportunity to speak to every single person who may have seen the accident happen. Collecting contact information of the witnesses will make it easier for your attorney to gather their accounts and strengthen your case.
Make an Appointment with Your Doctor
If you have broken bones or serious lacerations, you need to seek immediate medical care after a car accident. But even if you're not severely injured, it is still extremely important to see your doctor as soon as you can after an auto accident. Serious injuries, like whiplash, may not be apparent in the hours after a car accident, so you need to be treated by a doctor. In addition, your attorney will need your medical records when negotiating a settlement with the at-fault driver's insurance company.
Order a Police Report
When you go to your first appointment with your car accident attorney, he or she will most likely want to review the police report in order to get a better idea of what happened and how the accident occurred. It is a good idea to contact the police department and request a copy of their report before you see your attorney; in most cases the report will be offered for a nominal fee.
The more evidence you have in an auto injury case, the more likely your attorney will be able to negotiate a favorable settlement on your behalf. After the accident, take as many photographs as possible of the damage to your vehicle. Take the photos during the afternoon and in full sunlight so they are clear and easy to see. In addition, also take photographs of your injuries, such as bruises, cuts, or burns from the air bag or your seat belt.