What do do if you are involved in an accident or slip-and-fall.
No matter how minor an accident may be, the failure to stop can result in serious criminal consequences. If possible, stop your vehicle at the point nearest the accident scene without obstructing traffic more than necessary.
Call a Police Officer
State and local police officers are trained accident investigators. Their expertise may be invaluable in establishing the reason the accident occurred.
Gather Information and Write It Down
Dont trust your memory. Write down the facts, including the names and addresses of witnesses; skid marks and distance measurements; and the names, addresses and license plate numbers of the drivers involved.
Participants in automobile accidents are required by law to exhibit their drivers licenses and provide their vehicle registration numbers, insurance carriers, insurance policy numbers, and names and addresses of their local insurance agents to each driver involved in the accident. Below is a handy list to help you collect the appropriate information
- Name(s) Address(es) of Driver(s)
- License Plate Number(s)
- Insurance Carrier(s)
- Name(s) and Address(es) of Agent(s)
- Name(s) and Address(es) of Witness(es)
- Skid Mark Measurements
- Distance Measurements
Be Careful What You Say
Do not admit fault even if you think the accident was your fault. You may discover later that the other driver was equally or more at fault. Statements made during the excitement of an accident may be misconstrued or later misquoted by others. Discuss the accident with the investigating officer, your attorney and your insurance company.
See Your Doctor
Serious injuries do not always result in immediate pain or bloodshed. Consult a doctor or hospital if there is the slightest chance you may be injured.
Inform Your Insurance Company Immediately
Your insurance company employs trained investigators who will attempt to develop all evidence for your defense. Failure to promptly notify your insurer may void your policy and leave you without insurance coverage for damage resulting from the accident.
Consult Your Lawyer Promptly
If you anticipate filing a civil claim for damage or facing a trial on a traffic violation charge, the sooner your lawyer is brought into the matter the better he or she can advise you and protect your rights. Your lawyer can obtain statements from the witnesses while their memories are fresh and assure that the true facts are preserved.
Get your lawyers advice before giving any interviews or statements.
Information for Slip-and-Fall Victims
What To Do
No matter how minor an accident may be, it can result in serious injuries that might not become apparent until much later.
Inspect the area where you fell. What caused you to fall? Did anyone see you fall? Write down the names, addresses and phone numbers of anyone in the vicinity where the incident occurred — both those who saw you fall, and others who were there after the incident — since you may need them as witnesses on your behalf if the landowner disputes your claim. Even if someone did not see you fall, he or she could, if necessary, describe your pain and the conditions of the floor, lighting, etc. immediately after you fell.
If the incident occurred in a store or place of business, speak with the manager or supervisor on duty. Have them make a record of the incident, and get a copy of anything prepared by the business. If anyone (especially an employee, supervisor or manager) makes a comment suggesting that this has occurred before, or that they were aware of the condition before your fall, make a mental note. If possible, get the name of the person who make the comment. As soon as you are out of the store, write down the name and what exactly the person said, and who else heard him make the statement.
Even if the condition that caused your fall is permanent, or semi-permanent (like ice on a sidewalk in Duluth in winter). Have someone take photographs of the area as soon as possible, so a record is made. Buying a tiny throwaway camera for $5 to $10 may be a good investment. Even "permanent conditions" have a way of changing if the landowner thinks that you might file a claim for injuries.