There are more than a million car accidents recorded each year. Many of these lead to serious injury and bodily harm, and even in some cases, death. Accidents happen anywhere and at any time. Be it on the road, just idly walking by, or even at home.
Car accidents are among the most common, of course, but it’s not just exclusive to cars. Somebody might be walking inside a shopping mall and a large display collapses on them. Or maybe a construction area fails to mark their perimeter and somebody falls in a ditch. Even instances involving malicious individuals, such as theft or robbery, or physical assault- while not exactly accidents, they can happen to anyone. And they might sound silly, especially when one is simply thinking of it, but the truth is they happen and they happen when we least expect it.
Being that these things often happen when we least expect it, what can we do to protect or prepare ourselves and our loved ones should we find ourselves in such a situation? Here are some tips to help you out:
Address the Situation On-hand First
Of course, before the legal matter should be discussed, make sure that the situation is addressed first. The first step is to calm down, take a breather and move on. Whether you’re experiencing or witnessing an accident, calling the relevant authority is necessary, like the police or medical professionals. If you’re witnessing an accident, attend to those injured, especially if they’re in a life or death situation. However, before you act, make sure you have an understanding of how you can help, otherwise, call the emergency hotline as fast as you can.
Don’t Sign Papers
As mentioned before, accidents can happen anywhere. And if you or anyone is hurt in a place of business, especially a private one, it’s best to be aware of your rights. The business administration where the accident occurred might try to ask those involved to sign a piece of paper. Before doing so, however, it’s best to truly understand what’s written in it. They might be trying to get a waiver signed to lift the responsibility off their hands. If this happens, either make sure to read it thoroughly, or at best, don’t sign it at all. Wait for the authorities, like the emergency team or the police, before signing such a document.
We’re not telling you to be a private investigator- far from it. Should you find yourself in an accident, the most important thing you can do is to collect evidence surrounding the situation. It’s both for protection and liability claim: you’re protecting yourself from legal problems and increasing the chances of getting due compensation.
Get Names and Exchange Information. Normally, the police will have to get everyone’s information. But sometimes, it’s a good idea to go ahead and get the information yourself. Get the names, phone numbers, and addresses of everyone involved. Secure witnesses’ information, most especially as they will play a very significant role later on.
Take Pictures. Should anything happen, it’s best to have visual proof. Our smartphones normally include a camera, use it to take pictures of the situation. Include as many details as possible: the scene of the incident, the damage, and those who might be involved. If physical harm or injury came out of the situation, take pictures of those too. These will be used later for investigations, and must only be done if the authorities haven’t arrived yet. Once the police arrive, it’s best to leave them to their investigations.
Record What Happened. The authorities will be needing a detailed report of what happened, so if you can record everything. Being able to record everything on video would be preferable, but if not, even writing a quick note of the sequence of events will be very helpful.
Get the Right Professionals Involved
After all, is said and done, you will need a professional involved. Of course, it’s ultimately dependent on the situation. If someone is being forcibly detained because of visa issues, you need a deportation immigration lawyer. If someone got grievously injured because of a car accident, then a personal injury lawyer is needed. Law professionals will be able to help you make sure your rights are respected, and make those at fault pay. It’s also wise to only communicate and coordinate with your legal adviser or lawyer- talking to others about the situation can be very jeopardous.
Regardless of whether the accident happens to you or you’re a witness to one, how we respond to an accident is very important. Beyond addressing the immediate concern, what we do after is also important.