In a recent interview, top-rated Personal Injury Attorney Drew McCulloch, founding partner at McCulloch Carter, PLLC in Tampa, FL, revealed the immediate next steps when involved in an auto accident. —
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When asked for a comment, he said, “Many people are unaware that the things they do or don’t do right after an accident can greatly impact their ability to get compensated in a personal injury case. Here are some things to keep in mind.”
The first step after getting involved in a car accident is to begin documentation and call the police, even if there aren't serious injuries.
“The main thing that police do at the scene of the accident is documenting the accident, which includes talking to witnesses, gathering names and contact information, statements, creating a crash report, taking photographs, documenting property damage and bodily injuries, determining fault, among other things. All of this information becomes important later on when making claims against the negligent party,” he said.
McCulloch was quick to add that because the negligent party sometimes admits fault right after the accident but then changes their answer when the police arrive, it's often a good idea to begin recording straight away.
While documenting the accident, it can be valuable to include specific photos of the scene of the accident.
When asked to elaborate, he said, “Certainly, take pictures of anything that can spoil. If you can, take pictures of the entire scene, including skid marks as rain and mud can swipe them away over time. It’s especially important to take pictures of the other person’s vehicle and the damage to that.”
He further mentioned that because cars involved in an accident are often moved to the side of the road, documenting the vehicles before being moved can tell a more accurate story.
Another thing to keep in mind, according to McCulloch, is to seek medical treatment as soon as an injury surfaces, as not doing so can pose a challenge when trying to seek compensation from an insurance company.
"When the ambulance comes to the scene of the accident, it's important not to be shy about your injuries, because seemingly minor ones can turn into bigger injuries down the road. If your injury shows up the next day, then seek medical attention. For one, it tells a story, and two, it correlates the injury to that accident. But in the State of Florida, if you don't get treatment within the first 14 days, you could potentially be waiving some very important rights," he said.
Retaining the right personal injury attorney is often vital in getting the best possible outcome for personal injury cases.
"Doing your research and meeting with attorneys is crucial. Meeting with an attorney doesn't necessarily mean you have to hire the attorney. Many attorneys don't charge for the initial consultation. Make sure the attorney has experience doing this type of law and that they're knowledgeable in this field," he said.
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