Our firm is often asked: “I’ve been involved in an accident. What should I do after a car accident happens and I’m still at the scene?”
Assuming you aren’t hurt too bad, the number one thing you should do after an accident is move to safety. If your car will drive out of traffic, especially if you’re on the highway, get out of traffic. The worst thing that could possibly happen is another car come along and compound matters and maybe hurt anyone worse than they already are. If you can’t move your car to safety, get out of the car—do not sit in it—move off the roadway and get to a safe location. If someone does strike your car, you’ll be safe and out of the vehicle.
The next thing you want to do after an accident is make contact with the other driver. Making sure they are okay should be the number one concern and then change exchange information with them. However, if they’re agitated or belligerent or don’t want to communicate, that’s fine—You always be polite and professional, but if they don’t want to talk to you, don’t worry about it. The police will be there in a little bit and then they can get the information for you.
At this point, go ahead and provide a statement to the police once they arrive. Tell them your version of events and don’t get argumentative with them. Any discrepancies can be taken care of later.
The next thing you want to do is take pictures of the scene. Everybody’s got a camera phone these days, and you want to take as many pictures as possible of your car, the other drivers’ car and their license plate number. Were there any witnesses? Get pictures of the witnesses and the cars that they’re driving, especially the license plate. This can be helpful in the future to find and contact the witness, if needed. In other words, you want a complete picture of everything that’s out there so that later on you can kind of put things together. You want to locate any other witnesses that may be there.
Don’t rely on the police. They may or may not get all the witness information. They may talk to the witness let them go and never get a phone number or anything like that. You need to track those witnesses down to get their information. It’s critical. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had cases where there were witnesses there, but there’s no way to contact them.
Probably most importantly, if you’re hurt or even you think you might be hurt, be sure to seek professional medical treatment immediately. Don’t wait! Go as soon as possible and if the doctor wants you to follow up, make certain you follow up. It’s so important. Insurance companies use what they call “gaps” in treatment to deny claims or to demarginalize them to bring them down to less than what there really are. If you don’t follow up with a doctor or specialist like your doctor tells you to, the insurance company can use that as a “gap” in treatment and claim you aren’t really hurt.
These are just a few simple but incredibly important things that you should do after an accident. If you have recently been in an accident and are not sure what to do next, we’d be honored to speak with you further. Call our office or fill out our contact form for a free consultation with our dedicated staff.
CATEGORY: Car Accidents