What To Do If You Are In An Accident
What do you do after an accident? Here are some practical tips.
What do you do after an accident? Here are some practical tips…
Safety is number one. Make sure you and everyone else involved in the accident is safe. If you or anyone else is injured call 911 immediately. Do not assume anyone else is calling.
Stay at the scene and contact the police. No matter what the circumstances, you want to make sure that you contact the police, get a police report and the name and badge number of the responding officers. It is illegal in some places to leave the scene of an accident, no matter how severe the accident was. And it goes without saying you should be honest with the police. If they ask you if you’ve been injured, and you do not yet know, say you are uncertain rather than no. Pain and injuries may not become apparent for hours, days, or even months after the accident. And the adrenaline you are experiencing after an accident may mask and hide your injuries and symptoms. If you say you have not been injured when you are asked at the scene, the defendants will try to use that against you in court.
Leave the vehicles, but move to the sidewalk or a safe location. If the injuries are serious or there is a dispute about who or what caused the accident, leave the vehicles where they are until after the police arrive. Do not let anyone convince you otherwise. Place your flashers on and turn your engine off. If there is any damage or debris on the road, leave it until the police arrive. While the cars should remain, you should move to the sidewalk or shoulder as soon as safely possible.
Exchange info with the other driver. Exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver. Be polite and helpful, but avoid discussing fault as there is no reason to do so. Even if you are sure the accident is not your fault, and you may feel angry about what happened, stay calm. Write down the driver’s name, the passengers’ names, their license plate, and the make and model of the car. You can also try to get their email address, phone number, and their relationship to the car (do they own it, were they allowed to drive it, etc.)
Get eyewitness information. Get the names and information of anyone who stopped to help or witnessed the accident. If you do not get this information, it may be impossible to find these witnesses at a later date.
Take photographs of everything. This includes the scene, the other driver and their passengers, the cars, the locations of the cars and any debris, and any cameras or businesses in the area.
Write down a summary of what happened. You want to write down as soon as possible a comprehensive summary of the events leading up to the accident, what you remember about the accident, and what happened after the accident. Write down the weather conditions at the time of the accident. Also, draw a map that shows to the best of your recollection what happened and where everyone was located right before the accident. Save this so you can give it to your attorney if and when you contact an attorney.
Contact an attorney. If you do not know an attorney, ask your friends. Time is of the essence. Critical evidence, such as video footage, could be lost if you do not act quickly, and an attorney will have the skills and resources to gather this information. Attorneys may also have the contacts and knowledge to help you obtain the medical care and treatment that you need. Oftentimes states will have “no-fault” systems whereby a certain percentage of medical care and treatment is covered automatically without charge to you, along with compensation for lost wages and other damages. An attorney can help you collect these benefits.
Seek Medical Care. Make an apt to see your family doctor or a family practice doctor. You want to make sure you explain to the doctor the things that are bothering you after the accident. Make sure to tell the doctor everything. If your arm hurt before the accident, but hurts worse after the accident, explain how the pain has changed. And pay attention for signs of whiplash. These could include (1) neck pain and stiffness (2) loss of range of motion in the neck, (3) headaches, (4) tenderness in the shoulder, upper back or arms, (5) tingling or numbness in your arms, (6) fatigue, and (7) dizziness. If you experience any of these symptoms you need to see a doctor.
Keep a file. Keep everything that you receive or send concerning the accident in a file. Start a new email file folder and save all your emails there.
Do not post on Social Media: Resist the urge to post photos on social media. Defendants could use what you post on social media later to try to twist the facts against you, or understate your injuries.
We at the Ellis Law Group, PLLC represent individuals who have been in car accidents every day. Contact us today to see how we can help you.