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How to help in an accident investigation

  • June 06, 2006
  • by PInow Staff

What to do when the worst happens

Most of us dread the idea of an accident, but whether work-related, car-related or simply related caused by generic events, accidents occur every minute of the day. Unfortunately, no matter how careful we are, chances are good that we will one day be affected by an accident. If the worst does occur, knowing what to do can help ensure that you get the compensation as well as a help you need.
Accident investigators suggest that in case of an accident you:

  • Stop everything and offer help to anyone who appears to need it. Whether you are in a work-related accident or a car accident, no matter who is at fault, the first priority is always to take care of those who may have been injured. If someone seems to have internal injuries or is seriously injured, do not attempt to move the person. You may lightly cover them with a blanket, but avoid jostling them, as it can cause further damage.

  • Call for help right away. Today, with cell phones, calling help is often very simple. You'll want to contact the police as well as an ambulance right away. Of course, you also want to wait until help arrives and you want to encourage anyone who was witness to the accident to do likewise. If there is time, call your insurance company as well.

  • Exchange contact information with others at the scene. Again, whether the accident is a personal injury, car accident, or a workplace accident, you may need witnesses or assistance during an investigation. Witnesses can help accident investigators re-create an accident scene and can also be useful in court. In case of a car accident, make sure that you exchange insurance information with the other driver -- even if the accident only appears to be minor.

  • Avoid assigning blame or becoming enraged. Even if you feel that someone else has caused a serious accident, try to keep your cool. Leave it up to the experts and professionals to determine exactly what happened. At the early stages, assigning blame will not likely to you any good and may make the situation far more unpleasant than it has to be.

  • Start keeping a paper trail. Write down your impressions and memories of the accident as soon as you have a spare minute. Keep a journal of any effects you suffer from the accident and keep your proof as well as your records in one file. This file may be invaluable if you seek help in court.

  • If you've been injured, no matter how slightly, be sure to visit a hospital or doctor right away. Ask your doctor to gather evidence -- including statements, photographs, x-rays, and other materials. This can help you make a claim later on and can help prevent lawsuits against yourself. You may need to sign a release form to ensure that your medical information is available to your investigator or your insurance company.

  • Once you been released from the hospital and are back at home, make sure that you contact your insurance company, employer, friends and family, and anyone else you need to contact let them know but the accident. Be sure to continue to cooperate with police, law enforcement, and your insurance company to resolve the matter. If it seems as though the situation is not being resolved to your liking, consider a lawyer or private investigator to protect your interests. If you need evidence gathered for your insurance company or for court, a private investigator is probably your best choice. If the evidence is clear and simply needs to be presented in court, a lawyer may be a good option.

  • Hire a private investigator. If you have been injured in an accident or you fear being blamed for an accident you should look into hiring a private investigator who specializes in accident investigations and accident reconstruction. Having an independent third party who is an expert can assist in supporting your claims or defending you from unwarranted claims. PInow.com (http://www.pinow.com) is an online investigator directory that can help you locate private investigators anywhere in the United States or Worldwide.

Being able to keep a clear head and cool temper in the moments after an accident and in the days following can help ensure that an accident does not end up costing you excessive amounts of money and stress.

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