It's also important to get as much information as possible at the time of the accident (or soon after) because it may be months or even years before a case is resolved. In most cases involving injuries, the police should be called so a proper investigation is done. The police officer will usually take witness statements and gather information that you or your attorney will need later on. You need to remember that what may seem perfectly obvious to you about what happened won't be so obvious to a court or a jury many months or even years in the future. There is also the possibility that you may not notice an injury or damage to your property until later, when it's too late to show that the accident was the cause of the injury or damage, unless you have already collected the evidence. Worse, the accident scene can change, physical evidence at the scene can go away, injuries can heal, witnesses forget and become hard to track down, and your recollections of events can start to fade. In fact, one danger for the victim of an accident is post-traumatic amnesia (PTA), which may result in the victim having no memory of the events either leading up to or immediately after the accident. In cases of PTA, getting full information about the accident in order to resolve a settlement is vital, because the victim may be unable to say what happened with any confidence-if she even remembers it at all. In such cases, witness testimony is particularly important, since the victim cannot give a full account.
In the case of serious injuries, you should always hire an experienced personal injury attorney to represent your interests. Your attorney will perform a competent investigation and collect important evidence to promote your interests and get the best result possible in your case.
After the Pedestrian Accident: The Next Steps
The first people to contact after an accident are the police, by calling 911. If someone has suffered a serious injury, the 911 dispatcher will notify the police and arrange for emergency medical services. Police reports are very important for resolving a claim, so make sure that the officer who responds files one. If for some reason an officer does not respond, file an accident report at the local police or sheriff's office within 72 hours of the accident.
Please note that all 911 calls are recorded. However, the tapes are usually destroyed after a certain time frame, likely after 90 days. Many times the 911 call recording can yield important information about your case, or least provide the name of another potential witness to support your claim.
You've Been in an Accident: What Now? - Part One