If you are in an auto accident, it is critical that you take the right steps to protect your health and your rights.
Get yourself to a safe location as quickly as possible. If your accident occurred in the middle of a roadway, get out of the road. If you have any flares or other items to warn people about your car, put them out, if you are able to do so. Don't sit in your car if it is unsafe to do so.
No matter the car accident, it is important to call the police. A police record of what happened can be extremely important. In addition, when you call 911, if anyone is injured, an ambulance will be sent to the scene.
Don't Admit Anything
Even if you do believe you are at fault, don't admit it. Don't make any statements at all to the other driver or passengers except to ask whether they are ok.
If You Need Treatment - Get Treatment
The most important thing is your health. That comes before any potential claim you might have against the other driver. If you or your passengers are injured, it is best to get to the hospital as soon as possible. If you do not believe you are injured, be aware of how you are feeling over the next few days. It is common for whiplash and soft tissue type injuries to show up a day or so later. Brain injuries can show a couple of weeks later.
If you start to feel pain that evening, go to the hospital or get to the doctor as soon as you can. The sooner you get treated and diagnosed, the better your chances for healing. Treatment is also an important part of any claim you might have against the other driver. Without proof of your injuries, your case will be much harder to prove and the value will be lower than what it otherwise could have been with proper treatment.
Talk to the Police
When the police arrive, give your insurance information, registration and driver's license. Make sure you get the name of the police officer and where and when you can get a copy of the police report. Give that information to your attorney so he can get it for you. Sometimes, if the accident is not serious and the cars are drivable, the police will not come. But it is best if they do.
If you are up to it and it is safe to do so, take pictures of the cars. Their locations on the road and in relation to each other. Take pictures of any damage as well. If there are skid marks, car parts on the road or any other evidence related to the crash, try to get pictures of those as well. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Get all Information
Make sure you exchange information with the other driver. Get his name, phone number, address and insurance information. If the driver refuses to cooperate, the police will have to get the information, but it is better if you can get it yourself as well. If there were any passengers in the other car, get their names and contact information. Also get the names and contact information of any witnesses.
Call a Lawyer
If you are injured and are the victim of the accident, you should call a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Having a lawyer on your side from day one is important. You don't want to be tricked into saying something that harms your case. Also, your lawyer can assist you with dealing with your own insurance company as well as the other driver's insurance company.
Call Your Own Insurance Company
Call your insurance company as soon as possible. You will be required to give a statement. You must cooperate with your own insurance company.
Don't Talk to the Other Driver's Insurance Company
You are not required to speak with the other driver's insurance company. Nor should you do so without the advice of your attorney. If you are responsible for the accident, ask your own insurance company about whether it wants you to give a statement. If you are the victim, talk to your personal injury lawyer before you talk to the other driver's company.
Follow Up with Medical Care
If you are injured, it is critical that you continue with your medical care. Do what the doctor tells you and follow his schedule of appointments. If you are told to rest at home, rest at home. If you are told to go to physical therapy, go to physical therapy. Keep all of your appointments. This is important for your health. It is also important for your case. If you only go to the doctor one or two times but are claiming serious injuries, you will make it very difficult for your lawyer. It is understandable that you don't want to go to the doctor, it is time consuming and can be upsetting. But you should get the right treatement for your well-being.
Get an App
Some law firms have apps. These apps take you through the steps of what you should do after an accident. It is best to locate and download an app before you are in a car accident. A car accident app can go a long way to helping you during the stress that immediately follows a crash, by helping you remember what questions to ask and what information you require.