What to Do After A Car Accident – Personal Injury Law
Almost all drivers will experience a fender bender, object collision, or a more significant car crash at some time in their lives. While car accidents can be very scary and stressful, you need to be prepared to take specific steps if you are ever involved in a crash. Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1. Get help.
If you or anyone else has been injured, you need to get help as soon as possible. If you have a cell phone you should call 911 and ask the operator to send an ambulance. If you don’t have a cell phone or are unable to move, ask the first person on the scene to call for help. If there is a crowd of people, single out one person and specifically ask him or her to call.
Step 2. Make the area safe, if possible.
In non-injury accidents that don’t result in significant damage to your vehicle, it’s best to move your car, truck, or motorcycle to a safe place. As long as the vehicle is operable, you should try to move it to the side of the road or somewhere else where it won’t be an obstruction to other motorists.
Step 3. Exchange driver details.
Once you are sure that everyone involved is fine and the area is safe, you should then talk to the other driver to obtain his or her insurance information. If you have a cell phone with a camera on it you can snap a picture of the other driver’s insurance card. If not, use a pen and paper if you have it, or ask the other driver if he or she has something to write with.
Step 4. Don’t admit mistakes.
Even minor car accidents will leave you shaken up, and a lot of people in that situation will want to start talking. Try to resist this urge. Ask the other driver for his or her insurance information, but do not admit that you made a mistake. You can ask “Are you all right?” or “Do you need an ambulance?” but you should refrain from apologizing or saying anything that might implicate you as being at fault.
Step 5. Take notes and photos.
The best time to gather information about an accident is immediately after it occurs. If you have a cell phone or disposable camera with you, take photographs of the area, the vehicles involved, and especially the damaged portions of the cars. You should also take photographs of the location of where the accident occurred, especially street signs, intersections, and crash debris that might still be on the road. Just do this carefully so you don’t endanger yourself or others.
Step 6: Find witnesses.
If you notice any bystanders or people who witnessed the accident, ask them for their names and contact information. Don’t pressure them or try to persuade them that you did nothing wrong, merely ask them if they saw what happened and take their contact information so you can use it later if you need to.
Step 7: Contact the police.
Many police departments will not send officers to investigate non-injury accidents or accidents where both cars are still operable. However, you will need to contact the police soon after the accident has occurred. It’s important that you don’t admit to any wrongdoing, but you should file a report within 24 hours.
Step 8: Contact an experienced Car Accident attorney.
You may be eligible to receive compensation for damages and/or injuries. As soon as you can, following an accident, seek an experienced Car Accident attorney and set-up a consultation to determine if you have a case.