Car and Truck accidents happen everyday, and if you are a driver in the US, chances are you will be involved in one sooner or later. If an accident occurs, here are some basic things to try and remember.
When you are involved in an accident, the first thing to remember is that you should try to stay calm. Check to see whether you or anyone else has any injuries and then call 911. In some states there is a legal requirement to call the police but in any event is highly advisable as failure to do so may affect your claim. When the police arrive, speak only to them about the accident. Do not under any circumstances discuss the accident with the other party or parties involved. While at the scene, make sure that you take a note of the vehicle license numbers of the other vehicle(s) involved, and get their names, addresses and insurance information. If there is a commercial vehicle involved take a note of the company name displayed on it.
Even though it may be clear to you or others that the accident was not your fault, there could be months of dispute ahead as attorneys and insurance companies try to establish blame and compensation payouts. Therefore you need to have as much evidence as possible to ensure you can accurately reflect the circumstances surrounding the accident. Although the police file accident reports it is always a good idea to carry a disposable camera in your vehicle so that you can prove the position of the vehicles, the road surface conditions and any other relevant circumstances. If you don't have a camera with you, return to the scene later on to take pictures. There may also have been other people who witnessed the accident. If this is the case, make sure you have their details: names, addresses and telephone numbers.
Even if you don't feel you have sufficient injuries to warrant medical attention you should still seek medical attention after an accident. Sometimes the shock of the incident and the adrenalin can mean that you don't feel pain immediately. Tell the doctor about any side effects you have felt, no matter how minor or fleeting they may be. Injuries aren't just about cuts and bruises, so if you experience incidents of memory loss, disorientation or confusion be sure to mention them.
Although you will of course need to notify your insurance company to report the accident and to check the cover that you have, it is also advisable to contact an attorney as soon as possible. It is crucially important that you don't sign anything from your insurance company until you have spoken to your lawyer. Following an accident there will be investigators, police and the other party's representatives so it is right that you also have someone to represent your interests.