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The Importance of the Traffic Collision Report
The Traffic Collision Report can be critical in documenting and memorializing spontaneous statements, including the defendant driver’s admissions of liability. Many at fault drivers will often admit liability, exchange information and then change their position once they interact with their insurance companies in an effort to avoid hikes in their insurance rates. Don’t fall victim to this ploy. Call the police and have the investigating officer procure party and witness statements, and accurate CDL, address and insurance information. The at fault driver and owner’s accurate names and addresses will prove critical in filing and serving the lawsuit in the event you are unable to successfully resolve your claim.
Call the police immediately following a collision. When calling the police make it clear that you would like an officer to come to the scene. The officer will then obtain information about the collision such as names, license numbers, insurance agencies, etc. The officer usually then separates the parties and takes statements. The officer will also document any damages, skid mark lengths, points of impact, etc. Make sure to get the name of the police officer, his badge number and the report number. Adrenaline often prevents injured victims from immediately feeling the full nature and extent of their injuries. Even if you feel nothing at the scene, do not admit that you are not injured as many feel symptoms within a few hours or days. If you suffer ANY immediate symptoms be sure to report them to the investigating officer, especially if you decide to decline ambulance transportation. Although expensive, if you feel injured, it is best to accept ambulance transport from a collision scene. Many worry about their vehicles being left at the scene. The police will arrange for a tow. Be sure to call a relative to have them follow up with the authorities to determine the whereabouts of your vehicle so that you can secure photographs and make arrangements for the insurance company to evaluate your vehicular damage.
If Your Car is Inoperable
If your car is inoperable, it will be towed from the scene. Make sure that you secure the location of where the car will be so that you can limit the time frame that your car will be stored. Storage charges mount quickly and if you are not careful, you could lose your car. If you are ambulanced from the scene and are seriously injured, have someone call the business where your car is being stored and advise that you do not want your car stored there more than one week. Storage charges will mount quickly, yet insurance companies can move slowly and you will not be able to recoup all of these charges should your vehicle remain in storage for too long a period of time. If necessary pay the storage fee, and have the car towed to a location where you will not need to pay for storage. Save the receipts and the insurance company will reimburse you later.
Should the Police Fail to Investigate
If the police fail to investigate, secure the complete name, address, driver’s license number, license plate, and insurance information from the at fault driver and if possible of the owner of the at fault vehicle. Take pictures of all involved vehicles, skid marks, and other crash debris, and immediate bruises, scratches, cuts, burns and any other evidence of immediate injuries.
Do Not Delay Medical Attention
Many injured victims delay procuring immediate medical attention for fear that they will be out of pocket the expense. The sooner you are evaluated by a medical practitioner, the better. Your decision to delay treatment will be used against you to prove that you were not seriously hurt, and possibly that the claimed injuries were not caused by the crash. If you are concerned regarding expense, contact a local clinic. Many clinics are low cost and operate on a sliding scale. Thus, there is no reason to delay care. Remember a delay in care is irrevocable, cannot be fixed by your attorney, and will be used by the insurance company to question the validity and strength of your claim.
Marie is currently the sole proprietor of the Law Offices of Marie Maiolo Muchow. In practice since 1989, where she began her career as an insurance defense litigator in Florida, and serving as a mediator for hundreds of claims since 2003, Marie knows how insurance companies operate, evaluate, and defend claims. Licensed in California since 1996, Marie proudly represents injured victims in the areas of personal injury and insurance litigation. Raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Marie speaks Spanish and provides consultations in Spanish without the need for an interpreter.