Negligence usually describes a situation when someone accidently does something wrong, which causes someone else to get hurt. A person can be held liable for any damages they cause through their careless or ‘negligent’ behavior.
Negligence can include simple examples such as forgetting to lock your front gate and letting your dog run free and attack someone, or much more complex events that cause a series of events to take place.
What should I do when I’m in an accident?
If you’re in an accident, there is a list of things you need to keep in mind that include –
- Stay at the accident site – Never leave an accident site unless advised or if it is appropriate to do so. If you leave, especially when someone has sustained injuries or is killed during the accident, you could face serious criminal charges for being a hit-and-run driver.
- Check on all drivers and passengers – First ensure that everyone involved in the accident is okay (before assessing damage to property). Call for medical help, if required. Also, unless absolutely necessary, do not move a person if unconscious or suffering from neck/back pain.
- Call the police – In case of significant property damage, physical injury or death, you need to call the police. Ask for a police report to be filed and obtain the names and badge numbers of the responding officers.
- Talk to witnesses – ask every witness at the site what they say and obtain their names and contact information, if possible.
- Obtain necessary information – Get the names, contact details, drivers’ license numbers, license plates and basic insurance information from all drivers involved. In case of passengers, obtain their contact information as well, if possible. However, you shouldn’t apologize for anything at the accident site since immediately after an accident, it may not be entirely clear how was at fault or more at fault.
- Inform your insurance company – Promptly inform your insurance company that you’ve been in an accident and provide them with all the facts. Do not withhold information or lie about anything since you could get into serious trouble, and may also possibly be denied coverage for the accident.
- Maintain records of your medical treatment – Keep records of all the medical treatment you receive since these medical reports and bills will help you prove your medical expenses later. Also keep an account of how your injuries may have impacted your daily life and routine activities.
- Take photographs – Click photographs of any damage to your vehicle as soon as possible after the accident. Photographic evidence makes it easier for insurance companies to assess damages helping them determine how much you should be compensated for the damage.
- Get a property damage valuation done – Obtain your insurance company’s damage valuation. If you are not satisfied, there are other options you can pursue including mediation or consulting an attorney.
- Be careful when discussing the incident – Do not discuss the accident with anyone other than your lawyer, insurance company and the police. Always make sure you have either your attorney or insurance representative when talking about the indecent.
- Watch out for early settlement offers – Be careful in case an insurance company reaches out to you with an early settlement offer. Don’t settle a claim until you’re convinced that you are being fully compensated for all your injuries. Always consult an attorney before signing any settlement documents!
- Consider hiring an attorney – In case anyone was injured in the accident, it would be best to consult an experienced attorney since a competent attorney can help you maximize your recovery if you’re injured or better defend you in case you’re at fault. Many accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only receive a fee if you are awarded any damages or a settlement.