What should you do after a car accident?
What you do immediately after an accident can affect not only your health, but your legal case. The most important thing is to make sure that you and the other people involved in the collision are okay. Call 911 and tell the dispatcher about any injuries. Make sure that you and the others involved get any needed medical attention. After that, we can help with the car accident case.
We recommend that you do the following in the seconds, minutes, and hours following the crash:
Determine if you or your passengers need medical attention.
Call 911 to request assistance from the police and first responders.
If possible, take photographs of your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, and the accident scene. Photographs help document dangerous driving conditions, roadway obstacles, the condition and damage to the vehicles, and other factors that may have contributed to the crash.
If possible, move your vehicle out of traffic. Turn on your hazard lights while doing so.
When the police arrive, follow the directions given to you by officers. The officers will write a police report describing what happened and recounting who said what. In addition to being able to retrieve the police report from the actual police facility, often the police report will be available for purchase on a site called “buycrash.com.”
Collect information from the other driver. You’ll need the driver’s name, address, telephone number, license plate number, and insurance policy number.
Gather contact information from witnesses.
In the days and months following the collision, your behavior can either help or hurt your case.
We advise our clients to do the following:
If you were injured in the collision but didn’t go to the emergency room after the accident, make an appointment with your doctor. Injuries that look and feel minor usually worsen within a day or two of the crash, causing increased pain and discomfort.
Make sure you tell the doctor that your injury is the result of a motor vehicle accident.
Follow through with any treatments prescribed by your doctor. For example, if the doctor refers you to a physical therapist, you should follow those instructions.
Take photographs of any visible injuries.
If you do not immediately seek legal advice—and you probably should—then it will be up to you to report the collision to your insurance company. All you are obligated to do is report the accident and explain who was involved. Do not give a detailed explanation because your insurance company may use those words against you later. Do not give a recorded statement. Only say you are reporting the accident and you want to set up a UM claim.
Avoid writing about the accident on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. This includes information about your doctor and the injuries you sustained. Defense lawyers often dig through social media profiles and other online information in attempt to find something to use against the person hurt in a car wreck.
If you have questions, feel free to contact us. We won’t charge you anything for the call.