Gathering evidence, talking to police and witnesses, taking photographs and making sure that you organize your paperwork properly are the last things in your mind when you are involved in an auto accident and suffer serious injuries. However, sooner or later – the issue of being compensated for your injuries and damages will become relevant. And the more serious the injuries are that one sustains in an auto accident, the higher the medical bills are, the greater the loss of wages is, and thus – the greater the overall financial loss on a person is. Thus, if you want to make sure that you are ultimately compensated for your injuries and pain and suffering, you will have to keep track of the facts, and documentation and the parties involved.
Driver information – obtain and exchange information with all other drivers and make sure to get their names, license plate numbers and driver license numbers, insurance company name and policy number as well as their current address.
Photographs – photograph the damages done to your car as well as other vehicles at the scene of the incident and photograph you injuries (bruising, and other visible injuries) before they start healing. Obviously, it’s a good idea to always have a digital or a Polaroid camera in your car. However, even if you don’t have one, chances are that if your accident occurred in the City of San Francisco, there might a drug store within walking distance where you can buy a camera, and it would be a very good idea to do so to preserve evidence as soon as possible.
Police Report – the San Francisco police is often reluctant to come out to the scene of the incident, unless one or more parties were seriously injured. Call the San Francisco Police Department if you were injured and demand that they arrive and take down the traffic collision report. Make sure to get a report slip, so that you can order the report later from their office.
Witnesses – do not hesitate to approach people who have or might have witnessed your accident. Their testimony or simple declaration (a statement with a signature on a paper) may prove to be crucial in a case of disputed liability. San Francisco residents are known for their desire to help and step up to the plate when they witness a traumatic injury accident, so you should not feel that approaching and asking potential witnesses for their information would be inappropriate.
Medical Treatment – if you feel that you have suffered a serious injury do not hesitate to go to the emergency room. You might be discouraged by ER treatment in San Francisco if you do not have health insurance. However, this should not be your concern at the moment when receiving prompt medical attention, taking your x-rays and getting pain relief medication is crucial to your future health and well being. Don’t worry about medical bills. There are different ways to handle them later, one of which is hiring a an injury lawyer in San Francisco who will place the bills on “hold” until your claim is settled and who will later negotiate with the medical providers to reduce your obligations.
After the Accident
Medical Treatment – log all the office visits, prescriptions, over the counter medications, medical treatment, chiropractic treatment, physical treatment and any other medical help your received from the date of the accident.
Lost Work Time / School Time – keep track of the days you were absent from work and for which your employer did not compensate you and the days you weren’t able to attend school because of your pain and injuries.
Photographs – continue to take photographs of your injuries, to show the healing process and write the date on the back of each photo.
Witnesses – contact them for a written statement before too much time lapses.
Pain, discomfort, emotional distress, fatigue, tenderness, inconvenience – keep a daily log of your experiences, documenting how the injuries have interfered with your daily life and relationship.
It is impossible to fully protect yourself from being involved and being injured in an auto accident, especially in San Francisco, where the drivers are known for their aggressive nature and where so many out-of-towners and tourists are driving and often do not rally know where they are going, creating dangerous situations on the road. However, it is in your power to make sure that you are prepared for such an event and you protect your rights and future financial well being.