Andrew F. Garruto - Attorney at Law
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TIPS:

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN A MOTOR VEHICLE COLLISION ?

1. CALL THE POLICE:

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident causing injury to person or property, you are required to stop and give, your name, address, and show your driver's license and insurance identification card to the person who is injured or whose property is damaged, or to a police officer. By doing this you are making an official record of the event, obtaining an independent witness [the police officer] of some facts of the event, and documenting a statement from the other driver.

2. INJURED PERSONS RECEIVE FIRST CONSIDERATION:­

If anyone is injured, inform the police officer who will then call an ambulance immediately. Before help arrives, you should not move an injured person. Keep the person warm with blankets or coats if necessary. Do not give an unconscious person anything by mouth. If you are injured, get to an emergency room.

3. PROTECT THE SCENE:

Make every effort to prevent further accidents. Vehicles should not be left in a position of danger on a highway if they can be moved, nor should passengers remain in such a vehicle. If the highway is obstructed at night, have someone with a flashlight warn approaching motorists, activate your flashers and set out flares or reflectors if they are available.

4. MAKE A COMPLETE REPORT TO THE POLICE:

Give the police officer the basic facts e.g., how it happened, the color of the light, what the other driver told you, etc. Ask the police officer how you can get a copy of the accident report and write down the police officer's name and badge number. Inform the officer of any symptoms that you are experiencing.

5. EXCHANGE INFORMATION WITH THE OTHER DRIVER:

Obtain the names and addresses of all other drivers involved, along with the names and addresses of other passengers. Write down the vehicle information from the registration cards of all cars involved in the accident, as well as the insurance information [name, address and policy numbers]. If you notice that their insurance or registration has expired, inform the police.

6. DO NOT ASSUME THAT THE POLICE REPORT WILL CONTAIN ALL AVAILABLE INFORMATION:

This is particularly true of names and addresses and telephone numbers of eyewitnesses, so make sure you get this information yourself. This is extremely important when there are different stories as to how the accident happened, for example, when both drivers at an intersection accident claim to have had a green light, when it's only possible for one of them to have had a green light.

If you don't obtain witness information at the scene, it is probably lost forever.

7. POINT OUT ANY PHYSICAL EVIDENCE TO THE POLICE:

By physical evidence, I mean any debris from the cars in the roadway, any skid marks from the vehicles involved, damage to each of the vehicles, as well as any physical signs of injury (bruise, laceration, etc.).

8. WRITE DOWN THE DETAILS OF THE ACCIDENT:

It is a good idea to write down what happened soon after the accident. The sooner you make notes of the details of the accident, the more information will be preserved for later, before your memory may fade and some of the specifics are lost. Your note should include date and time, road conditions, weather conditions and speed of all other vehicles involved. It is also a good idea to draw a diagram of the accident showing the position and direction of the vehicles just prior to and after the accident.

9. REPORT THE ACCIDENT TO YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY:

Your insurance company is responsible for the payment of your medical bills, and must be promptly notified of the crash and of your injuries. Frequently the insurance company will ask you for a tape-recorded statement, and I suggest that you do not do so without an attorney. I give this advice because your insurance company often is your adversary when you present claims, and also because I may have serious problems with the way the questioner interrogates you - they may be suggesting answers that may not be true, may suggest facts in their questions, or other tricky or confusing questions.

10. IF YOU ARE INJURED IN THE ACCIDENT:

If you are in pain, go to the Emergency Room or see a doctor as soon as possible. Potentially serious and costly injuries may not be evident at first; let these experts evaluate you and determine if your injuries require treatment.

11. TAKE PICTURES:

Take pictures of the accident scene, skid marks, and damage caused to your vehicle. If you were bruised or have other obvious signs of injury, you should also have someone take pictures of any bruises on your body – black and blue marks, bruises from seatbelts, anything that proves that there were forces to your body from the crash. This evidence proves that your body experienced a forceful blow, and the photos will help contradict the defendant’s insurance company’s doctor who will certainly have a great resume, and who will say that you are not injured at all, or not as seriously as your own doctor testifies.



WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE SLIPPED OR FALLEN ?

1. CONTACT THE MANAGER OF THE STORE:

We seem to be programmed after we fall in a public place, to feel embarrassed and walk away hoping no one saw us. The problem with this behavior is that the store isn't notified of the incident, how it happened, whose fault it is and if you are injured. If you are hurt and it is because of a problem they caused or allowed to exist, they should be made aware of it right after it happened so that they can see that it was their fault, if that is the case. Inform the manager that you want an incident report completed.

2. THE INCIDENT REPORT:

Inform the manager of the details of how you slipped or tripped, and of any specific symptoms you are experiencing. Point out the dangerous condition so that they could witness it themselves, and so that they can fix it before anyone else gets hurt.

Also, it is important to obtain a copy of the incident report. Before you sign anything, make sure that they will agree to give you a copy of whatever you sign, before you sign it. If they refuse to promise you a copy, then don't sign it – things could be added to the form after you gave it to them, and if you don’t have a copy you can’t prove they altered your statement. (People do drastic things at times if they feel they may lose their job or affect their standing with the company).

3. WITNESSES:

If anyone saw how or why you slipped or tripped, obtain the names, addresses and telephone numbers of eyewitnesses, and make sure you obtain this information yourself. This is extremely important when there are different stories as to how the accident happened, for example, when the business claims to have inspected or cleaned the area just prior to the incident, or when they claim that they their surveillance cameras weren’t working or weren’t on at the time of the incident, etc.

If you don't obtain witness information at the scene, it is probably lost forever.

4. PHYSICAL EVIDENCE:

If you were caused to slip on a wet substance, and got on your clothes or shoes, then please do not wash them and do not throw them away, but save them in this condition. Similarly, if your clothes were torn, or got blood on them, preserve them in this condition. Save your receipt to prove the date and time you were at their business. If the injury involves snow or ice, you must take pictures as soon as possible before it melts, so you are able to prove the condition that caused your fall -- if you don’t do this immediately, you have lost the opportunity to photograph the dangerous condition.

If you were bruised or have other obvious signs of injury, you should also have someone take pictures of any bruises on your body – black and blue marks, bruises, cuts, anything that proves that there were forces to your body from the incident. This evidence proves that your body experienced a forceful blow, and the photos will help contradict the defendant’s insurance company’s doctor who will certainly have a great resume, and who will say that you are not injured at all, or not as seriously as your own doctor testifies.


Member National Association of Personal Injury Lawyers


Garruto & Calabria
Attorneys at Law
609 Franklin Avenue
Nutley, New Jersey
07110-1252
(973) 661-4455



Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Accidental Death | Medical Malpractice