15 Things to Do (and Not Do) After a Car Accident
According the the U.S. Census Bureau, from 2005 to 2009, there were upwards of 10.5 million motor vehicle accidents per year on average. The possibility of a car accident, either serious or minor, is an everyday possibility for all Americans, and being in one of those accidents is a stressful, emotional, and scary ordeal. Below is a list of 10 steps you should follow immediately after an accident, as well as a list of things you’ll want to avoid doing in order to preserve your health and your legal rights.
What to Do After a Car Accident:
1. If anyone involved in the accident has been injured, call for medical attention immediately.
2. Notify the police so an officer can document the accident. The officer will record important facts that will keep any future legal proceedings from devolving into a case of he said, she said.
3. Exchange contact numbers, addresses, insurance information, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and vehicle information like make, model, and year with the other parties involved.
4. Document all witnesses of the accident and get their contact information. Passengers who were involved in the accident are not considered witnesses. This will probably be done by a police officer if there is one present, but you should gather this information yourself.
5. Using your phone or a camera, take pictures of the accident, the area surrounding the accident, and your vehicle. Images are oftentimes the best proof of the damage that resulted from the accident, and can help piece together how the accident occurred.
6. Be sure to save any physical evidence, like debris from the road, that might have caused or contributed to the accident.
7. Document as many details as possible from the scene of the accident. Record the location, weather conditions, date and time, or draw a diagram of the accident and how you remember it occurring.
8. Call your insurance agent and report the accident.
9. Call an attorney. Whether or not you are at fault for the accident, legal advice is necessary to ensure a fair outcome for all parties involved.
10. Don’t forget to note any expenses you incur after the accident including out-of-pocket medical expenses and missed work.
What Not to Do After a Car Accident:
1. Leave the scene. In most instances, if you were responsible for an accident that resulted in property damage (and no injuries), you would face a misdemeanor charge along with a hefty fine or even jail time.
2. Enter into a confrontation with other involved parties, even if you are not the aggressor. Remaining calm and notifying the police is the best course of action.
3. Talk about details of the accident with other people or assign guilt to anyone involved, even if you believe you were at fault.
4. Leave the scene or allow other parties to leave before you have documented the accident and acquired contact information from everyone involved.
5. Speak with the at-fault individual’s insurance company before speaking with a lawyer. Any statements you make could be used against you in future proceedings.
Being in a car accident can be a very traumatic and drawn out experience. By following the steps on this list, you can have piece of mind knowing you’re prepared to deal with legal aftermath of the accident. If you or a loved one have been in a car accident and want to know your legal rights, contact Georgelis Injury Law Firm, P.C. today.