Getting into a car accident can be devastating no matter what the circumstances. If the accident wasn’t your fault and you have suffered injuries, you may file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. Witnesses are integral to the outcome of your case, but what do you do when there are no witnesses?
According to one New York car accident lawyer, the way you respond to a car accident can have a tremendous impact on both the resolving of your injuries and any potential legal claim. This is especially true when there are no witnesses to corroborate your version of events.
Even if no witnesses were present when you got into an accident, you can still file a lawsuit. You can still be successful in your claim and recover compensation for any damages you have sustained, but you’ll have to collect the evidence yourself. You must take certain steps after any kind of car accident, but these can help you if there were no witnesses.
First, you should check yourself and your passengers, if you have any, to ensure safety. If your car can be moved, steer it over to the side of the road and out of the way of oncoming traffic. Otherwise, get out and go to the side of the road. You don’t want another disaster that can worsen the situation and your injuries.
Contact the Police
Dial 911 if someone else hasn’t already done so and wait for the police and medical personnel to arrive at the scene. Be as truthful but succinct as possible when answering questions and ask the responding officer to take an accident report.
If you can physically manage it, take photos of the accident scene from all angles. You will want to focus your shots on the road and evidence of the collision, including all vehicles involved and their damage. Snap a few pictures of skid marks and any traffic signs or signals as well.
Exchanging information with the other driver is essential. Don’t speak except to get the most basic information. You should exchange full names, contact information and information pertaining to your drivers’ and license plate numbers and insurance. Avoid making any other conversation, especially regarding the accident and admitting fault or apologizing. Remember, anything you say can be misconstrued and ultimately used against you in a lawsuit.
Seek Medical Attention
Get medical attention immediately. Although you might feel completely fine after the accident, your adrenaline will be pumping, which can mask your true injuries. Additionally, you may have internal injuries that are unseen, and you might not begin to feel the effects of the car accident until hours or even days later. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and you don’t want to play around with your health.
Write Down Your Version of the Accident
Keep a journal to detail your version of the events before, during, and after the car accident. This can serve as vital evidence that you can present to an attorney when you file a personal injury claim. Write as much as you can as soon after the accident so that everything is still fresh in your mind and you don’t forget anything important.
Notify Your Insurance Company
You must also immediately notify your insurance company that you were in an accident. This helps when you choose to file a claim as waiting can work against you and an adjuster may question why you waited.
Speak with an Attorney
Get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible. If you plan to file a personal injury claim, you need to present all of your evidence to them so they can begin to build a strong case that favors you. As there were no witnesses to your accident, your attorney can work with an investigative team to determine how the accident occurred and even recreate the scene if necessary.