Once an auto accident happens, your entire world can be thrown off-kilter. Getting back on your feet afterward can take months, and there are some people who never get back to where they were. So what can you do to minimize the damage? Here are some important things to do as soon as you’re involved in an accident.
1. Assist the other driver and get medical care for the injured
Your first duty is to make sure everyone who needs medical attention gets it. Never run from a crash, ever. That will jeopardize your chances of getting any compensation. You could also receive additional charges and criminal penalties for running.
2. Trade information
While you’re waiting for the paramedics and the police, exchange information with the other driver. You’ll need the name of the driver, their contact information, and their insurance information. If at all possible, get this before the paramedics take you and your loved ones to the hospital. You may be able to obtain this information from the police if you were the one that was injured since they will be required to take it for their reporting.
3. Document as much as you can
You will need to give a statement to the insurance company about what happened. This statement will be much stronger if you can back it up with documentation. If you can, take photos of the crash scene and have the doctor write out a clear explanation of your injuries. If you had passengers, take statements from them about their perspective. But don’t talk with the insurance company yet…
4. Contact a personal injury lawyer
A local personal injury lawyer will know how to frame your request tothe insurance company so you can get the best initial offer. They may also point you to additional sources of documentation you may wish to include. The initial consultation for lawyers is free, so you have nothing to lose by going to them for advice.
5. When Must An Accident Report Be Filed ?
“ M.G.L.( Massachusetts General Law Chapter 90, Section 26 requires a person who was operating a motor vehicle involved in a crash in which (i) any person was killed or (ii) injured or (iii) in which there was damage in excess of $1,000 to any one vehicle or other property, to complete and file a Crash Operator Report with the Registrar within five (5) days after such crash (unless the person is physically incapable of doing so due to incapacity). The person completing the report must also send a copy of the report to the police department having jurisdiction on the way where the crash occurred. If the operator is incapacitated but is not the vehicle’s owner, the owner is required to file the crash report within the five (5) days based on his/her knowledge and information obtained about the crash. The Registrar may require the owner or operator to supplement the report and he/she can revoke or suspend the license of any person violating any provision of this legal requirement. A police department is required to accept a report filed by an owner or operator whose vehicle has been damaged in a crash in which another person unlawfully left the scene even if damage to the vehicle does not exceed $1,000*
*Commonwealth of Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Crash Operator Report
6. No insurance?
The good news is that Massachusetts has one of the lowest percentages of uninsured drivers in the country and as a “no-fault” state each driver or his insurance pays for your injuries and damages and those of any passengers. You are required to have bodily injury by an uninsured auto and damage to someone else’s property. Coverage amounts will vary. You may also have additional uninsured motorist coverage limits on your policy for added protection.
7. More questions?
Please call the Law Office of Jeffrey A Young 978-654-6670 or visit our website www.lowellmainjurylawyer.com