Monthly Archive for December, 2011

What To Do If You’re In An Accident

Accidents happen.  It’s a part of being human.  But your behavior immediately after an accident can make a huge difference in what happens next.  I’ve been practicing law for more than 35 years, and these are the most important things to remember if you have an accident.

If your accident happens on the job …

1.  Report the injury to the proper person before leaving for the day.
Employees often forget or choose not to report their injuries, especially when the injury does not seem serious. Reporting an injury even a day or two later often violates company policy, and makes it difficult to prove that the injury came from an on-the-job accident.

2.  If you must fill out a written accident report, do so carefully.
A written report is frequently the cornerstone of your claim. If not filled out correctly, it will do more harm than good. Don’t let anyone fill out the report for you, and don’t agree to give a tape-recorded statement. Avoid blaming yourself. Be honest and forthcoming. Include all working conditions, machinery, and/or instructions provided by your employer. Finally, in many cases, a written report can be amended. If you think of additional important information afterwards, contact an attorney.

3.  Be your own accident investigator.
After an accident occurs, employers often take steps to improve the workplace. Therefore it is necessary to jot down notes as soon as possible. Record the condition of the workplace, the accident site, and the equipment involved. Try to recall your initial training and any instructions your supervisor may have given you. Record the names and contact information of witnesses who can verify conditions at the time of the accident. Try to recall if anyone else had been injured on the same equipment or in a similar way. All this information will give you a good start toward recovering fair and reasonable compensation.

4.  Contact an attorney as soon as possible.
This may seem like a sales pitch, but it isn’t. An attorney can help with filing an accident report, amending an accident report, filing the initial paperwork for workers compensation benefits, and preparing to answer questions about the cause of your accident. Also, at Adams & Gast LLC, the initial consultation is free. Take advantage of this service to protect your claim.

If your accident happens off the job …

Different law applies. When involved in an automobile accident, you must contact the police immediately so that an officer can take statements from you and the other party. Describe the accident carefully, and be honest and polite. Failure to contact the police may result in the facts of the accident being subject to later alteration.

1.  Identify the witnesses.
It is especially important that you obtain the names, addresses, and phone numbers of as many witnesses as possible. We must be able to reach these witnesses later to obtain their testimony. If you do not obtain their contact information at the time of the accident, their testimony will be lost forever.

2.  Document the accident.
As soon after the accident as possible, you or someone you know should take photographs of the accident site and the vehicles/equipment involved. Even if you are unsure at first whether or not to pursue a claim, it is important to document the accident in case you later change your mind.

3.  Contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Free consultation with an attorney can give you the guidance necessary to pursue your claim effectively. Performing a comprehensive investigation of the accident, along with retaining witness information, will give you a good start toward recovering fair and reasonable compensation.