sábado, 22 de agosto de 2009

Preserve Evidence of Fault and Damages

Preserve Evidence of Fault and Damages

Act quickly to protect evidence and find witnesses who can help you prove your case to an insurance company.

The first few days immediately following an accident are often the most important for finding and preserving evidence of what happened -- and documenting your injuries. You should take the following steps as soon as you are able.

Return to the Scene

If an accident occurred somewhere other than in your home, return to the scene as soon as possible to locate any evidence and photograph any conditions you believe may have caused or contributed to the accident. You may be amazed to find something you were not aware of when the accident occurred but which may help explain what happened: a worn or torn spot on which you fell, a traffic light that isn't working. And while looking around, you may also find someone who saw what happened, or who knows of other accidents which have happened in the same spot.

Take photographs of the accident scene from a number of different angles -- particularly your view of things right before the accident -- to keep a good picture of it in your mind and to give to the insurance company later on to indicate how well prepared you are to get the settlement you deserve. Photograph the scene at the same time of day as your accident occurred, and for vehicle accidents, the same day of the week, to show the appropriate amount of traffic.

Protect Physical Evidence

Who was at fault for an accident is sometimes shown by a piece of "physical" evidence -- something you can see or touch, as opposed to a description of what happened. Examples include a broken stair that caused a fall, the dent in a car showing where it was hit or an overhanging branch that blocked visibility on a bike path. Also, physical evidence can help prove the extent of an injury: Damage to the car can demonstrate how hard a collision was, and torn or bloodied clothing can show your physical injuries very dramatically. Try to preserve any physical evidence exactly as it was at the accident. If you can't preserve the actual object, take photographs of it. You can later show your evidence to an insurance company as proof of what happened.

Taking Good Photographs
If you do not have a piece of physical evidence, or for any reason cannot preserve it, the next best option is to photograph it. Regular photos are better than Polaroids. They usually show greater detail and more accurate light conditions. Take a number of photos from different angles so that you can later pick out the ones that show most clearly whatever it is you want to highlight to the insurance company.

Take the photos as soon as possible so that they will accurately represent the condition of the evidence immediately after the accident. To establish the date the photos were taken, ask a friend to both watch you take the pictures and to write a short note stating that he or she observed you taking the pictures on that date. Also, get the film developed immediately and make sure the photo shop indicates the date on the back of the prints, or at least on your receipt.

Locate Witnesses

A witness to an accident can be immensely valuable to you in making your case to an insurance company. Witnesses may be able to describe things about an accident that confirm what you believe happened, backing up your story. And they may provide you with information you were not aware of but which shows how the other person was at fault. Even a witness who did not actually see the accident may have seen you soon after you were injured and can confirm that you were in pain or discomfort. Or, a witness may have heard a statement made by another person involved in the accident indicating that someone other than you was at fault.

However, time is of the essence. If witnesses are not contacted and their information confirmed fairly soon after the accident, what they have to say may be lost. People's memories fade quickly, and soon their recollections may become so fuzzy that they are no longer useful. Also, a witness might no longer be around if you wait too long; people move frequently.

Document Your Injuries

In addition to taking the notes mentioned above, the best ways to preserve evidence of your injuries are by promptly reporting all of them to a doctor or other medical provider, and by photographing any visible marks, cuts, bruises or swelling, including any casts, splints, bandages or other devices. Without an early medical record of all your injuries, and photos if possible, it will be more difficult to later convince an insurance company that you were injured in the ways and to the degree you claim you were. Visible injuries heal and will not look as serious later, and failing to seek immediate treatment can lead an insurance company to believe that your injuries were not so serious, or even that you invented or exaggerated them after the accident.

Tips from a Los Angeles Accident Attorney

What to Do if You are Involved in a Truck Accident

Trucks are involved in thousands of accidents each year, and the type of accidents involving trucks (semi-trucks, vans, dump trucks, fire trucks, and tractor trailers) can be very serious due to the size of the vehicles involved and the potential danger of what the truck may be carrying. As a result of the tremendous size and weight of these vehicles, collisions that involve trucks often cause serious injuries and fatalities to people in smaller passenger vehicles. Another significant difference between an auto accident and an accident involving a semi-truck or a tractor trailer is that the truck is usually owned by a company, either large or small.

The government has created more laws to make trucking safer and to reduce the risk of accidents, and trucking companies have increased safety procedures, training, and awareness for their trucking staff; however, due to the growing number of trucks on the road, the number of truck accidents has increased.

People involved in a
truck accident could be eligible for compensation, and there are now many lawyers who are experienced in dealing with truck accident claims.

If you or a loved one is involved in an accident involving a truck, you should obtain the following information as soon as safely possible after the accident:

• A copy of the police report, including the report number and the name of the investigating officer(s)
• License plate number of all vehicles involved
• Any company names or identification information on the cab and trailer
• Driver information including name, driver’s license number, and insurance information
• Insurance information for the truck and trailer owner
• Length of skid marks if visible
• The condition of the truck's tires
• Road conditions at the time of the accident
• Names and contact information of any witnesses
• Names and contact information of anyone taking pictures or questioning witnesses/participants
In addition to gathering the above information:
• Take photographs of all vehicles involved and of the scene of the accident (if possible)
• Seek medical attention as soon as possible
• Obtain a copy of your medical examination report
• Contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible
You should also be aware of what not to do if involved in a truck accident:
• Do not make statements without first discussing the situation with an attorney. If asked to give a statement to police, only state specific facts. Do not state opinions or accept responsibility for the accident
• Do not sign anything other than the police report (after thoroughly reading it)
Federal laws that govern the trucking industry are different than automobile laws, and these differences drastically change the way an accident is handled. You need someone on your side that understands the complexity of trucking law and is prepared to fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

Bar Certified Accident Lawyer Referral Hotline 661-310-7999

Should I try to settle with the other person’s insurance company?

If you, a family member, or one of your passengers, has suffered any personal injury, or even if there is a possibility that someone will claim an injury, it is generally NOT wise to deal with the other side's insurance company. In such cases you certainly should not settle your claim without speaking to a lawyer who practices accident or personal injury law.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

Do you know the full extent of your injuries, or might there be some late developing symptoms? Do you know how long the effects of the injury may last? Do you know how difficult the recovery process might be? Do you know what therapy may be needed, or what it will cost? Are you sure you understand what the long term impact of your accident or injury might be on your ability to earn a living, enjoy recreational activities, play sports, do household chores, and so forth? Do you understand what is customarily awarded for the "pain and suffering" you went through, and the loss of companionship and the extra care your family members provided? Do you know how much income you might lose, regardless of any disability insurance you have, not just in terms of the time you are out of work, but afterwards? Do you know how much of what the other side's insurance company might pay you will have to be paid over by you to your own auto or health insurance company, or union or employer health plan, to reimburse them for the expenses they paid on your behalf?

Do you know how much money is traditionally recoverable by persons who are similarly injured who have legal representation? Probably you know none of these things. But the person from the other side's insurance company knows the answers real well, and the other side's insurance company or adjuster will never tell you, or never tell you the truth. You would be negotiating in the blind, without any idea of what you may be entitled to recover. And anything you say to the other side's insurance company would be marked down and recorded and used against you in terms of the other side's negotiating strategy and in trial if it ever got that far.

Although you do not know the answers, you can easily speak to an experienced lawyer who knows the answers and can represent your interests, not the insurance company's. And in personal injury cases, lawyers generally do not charge for an initial consultation, and then if they take the case, they are paid on a contingency fee basis, from what they recover for you.

On the other hand, if you are sure that there is no personal injury, and all that is involved is some damage to your car, feel free to speak to the other side's insurance company. But if there is BOTH personal injury and damage to the car, speak to an attorney, and don't be in such a rush to get the car fixed that you prejudice the far more significant personal injury claim.

Bar Certified Truck Accident Lawyer Referral Hotline 661-310-7999

A Truck Accident Lawyer Will Stand By Your Case

Trucking is the number one preferred choice for moving freight within the United States of America. The American Trucking Association reports that over nine billion tons of freight is hauled via major highways and interstates each year. Because of this increase in business for the trucking industry, it is reported that a tractor trailer accident occurs every 16 minutes. If you have had the misfortune of experiencing an accident that involves a tractor trailer, your next step would be to contact a truck accident lawyer.

You will want someone who will stand by you in these moments of grief and confusion. A good lawyer's first priority is to be your piece of mind in your harrowing experience. They should be committed to helping you reassemble your life, after an accident of this magnitude can completely change it. An experienced truck accident lawyer will help you, by determining what kind of compensation may be rewarded to you due to injuries sustained from the accident.

Lawyers should devote all of their resources and expertise to ensure that an accurate report has been filed. They do this by obtaining the accident report and making sure that the report accurately reflects what happened in the accident. Your lawyer will also contact witnesses and speak directly with the officers at the scene of the accident. A good truck accident lawyer will look into every detail, big or small, that was a contributing factor to the accident.

Obtaining information from truck companies regarding the background and qualifications of the truck driver in question is something that a truck accident lawyer will look into. By law, trucking companies follow strict guidelines before allowing a driver to operate these potentially dangerous vehicles. A lawyer knows what these laws are and might be able pick up something in a history report. Knowing these things can sometimes be an advantage in an impending case against a truck company.

Filing an injury lawsuit is a serious action to take against a trucking company. They are usually a large company with a lot at stake, and will bring with them a highly skilled legal team. Prior to ever filing any injury lawsuit, the client needs to be sure of all the facts regarding to the case. They must also find a truck injury lawyer they feel is sufficient to go up against a legal team that specializes in these types of cases. The more confidence the victim has in the truck injury lawyer, the less emotional stress the claimant is likely to experience.

If you have been injured in an accident with a tractor trailer, big rig, 18-wheeler, or semi, a truck accident lawyer can provide help to you when you need it the most. Do not provide a statement to the trucking company or its insurance representatives until you have spoken with a lawyer first. Protect your right to recover compensation for your injuries, talk with an experienced lawyer that specializes in accidents that involve tractor trailers