Automobile accidents are frightening events that can have serious consequences. As such, it is important to make sure all of the right steps are taken in order to avoid any additional problems caused by a crash.
At the Scene of the Accident
There are a few important steps to take while still at the accident scene. Thankfully, the advent of technology and smartphones has made many of these steps easier than they were in the past.
While you are still at the scene of the accident, keep these tips in mind:
- Exchange of information: First, make sure you are in a safe place and, if you can, move your vehicle to the side of the road. You should next attempt to exchange information with the other driver or drivers. Typically, you should obtain the other driver’s name, address, driver’s license details, and insurance information. Take a photo of the person’s driver’s license and insurance card. You should also obtain as much information as possible about the other vehicle, including the license plate number and VIN.
- Photographs: Take pictures of any and all damage to all the involved vehicles. This is important for a variety of reasons. If there is a dispute as to the cause of the accident, the nature and location of the damage to the vehicles will assist in reconstructing how the accident occurred and may play a pivotal role in assessing fault. This is also important because it helps to establish the force of the impact, which often plays a significant role in personal injury cases. If there is any evidence of the accident at the scene, take photographs if at all possible. This includes skid marks, broken headlights, windshield glass, and broken signs and other road marks. Please be careful when entering the roadway to take photographs, though.
- Police involvement: In all accidents, it is important to contact law enforcement. Sometimes the police may refuse to come to the scene if there are no reported injuries, but all efforts should be made to have them come to the scene and document the accident.
- Witness information: If there were any witnesses to the accident, it is important to obtain names, addresses, and any other identifying information possible.
- Medical attention: If you have any injuries, it is critical to have them addressed immediately. If the injuries are significant, it is best to be transported from the scene in an ambulance and taken to the closest emergency room. If the injuries are not significant, it is acceptable to seek medical attention on your own shortly after the crash scene is cleaned up and everyone is clear to leave. Please note that adrenaline and stress levels are typically high immediately after an accident, so you might not realize how significant your injuries right away and in the moment.
At Home After an Auto Accident
Once home, immediately contact your insurance company and report the accident. If you did not have emergency medical care, it is critical that you obtain the care yourself. Not only is it imperative that you seek care as soon as possible to assess your injuries and begin implementation of care, but, if there is a delay in medical treatment, insurance companies use that to try and reduce the monetary value of your case.
You should always seek the advice of a competent attorney who is experienced in handling automobile cases. Most attorneys that handle these cases will provide a free consultation so you will not be out of pocket any additional monies. Even if you ultimately decide not to retain a lawyer, you should receive valuable advice to get you pointed in the right direction.