Always Exchange Information at an Accident Scene

Let’s say that you’re stopped at a stop sign when you are rear-ended by another car that was not going all that fast. You get out and check the damage. It is minor and really doesn’t need to be repaired. The driver of the other car is profusely sorry for hitting you. She seems like an honest, sincere person and the damage to your car is minimal, so you decide to forget about it and don’t exchange insurance or personal information.

However, two days later you wake with a sore neck and stiff shoulders. You wonder why you are feeling that way, and then think that the only trauma you have suffered in the last couple of days was in the accident. The pain does not go away in a couple of days so you visit a chiropractor or orthopedist, who diagnoses whiplash-associated disorder (WAD) and prescribes an 8-week course of physical therapy for you. Unfortunately, you don’t have any health care insurance and will have to pay the expenses for the physical therapy out of your pocket. Plus you’re going to be losing money from time off work to go for treatments. And some people never fully recover from WAD and will be in pain for the rest of their lives.

The above example demonstrates why it is so important to exchange personal and insurance information at the scene of the accident, even if you don’t feel like you’ve been hurt. Many “soft tissue” and orthopedic injuries may not show up for several days after the trauma has been suffered. So it is extremely important that, regardless of how good you feel after an accident, you obtain the personal information from the other driver (ask to see his or her driver’s license so the other driver doesn’t give you false information) and ask to see his insurance information. Write down all of the personal information, as well as the name of the insurance company, the policy number, and the agent’s telephone number, if it is on the card. If your injuries persist for several days, make an appointment to see a chiropractor or orthopedist, and seriously think of contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer.

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