5 Things You Should Do After a Car Accident
Now that summer is here, Americans are buckling up (hopefully) for one of the nation's more common types of vacation: road trips. Whether you are planning to cruise down the sunny Californian coastline, drive through the Rockies, or cut across the Great Plains, it's important to keep your personal safety in mind. Car accidents can happen at any place and at any time. If your vacation is interrupted by an accident, keep a clear head and follow these five things to ensure you handle the situation properly and intelligently.
1. Stop and Stay
In the first few minutes immediately following an accident, the situation can be tense and unclear. No matter how stressed you or any other drivers may be, it is important to stop and stay at the scene of the accident. If you leave before the appropriate time, you might be charged with being a hit-and-run driver. After an accident, stop as soon as you safely can and perform the following steps.
2. Check on all Involved and Report the Incident
After stopping, make sure to check the status of all people involved in the accident, including passengers. Determine who needs medical attention, but do not move individuals who are unconscious or are suffering back or neck pain (unless a hazard threatens their immediate safety), as this could lead to further internal damage. After assessing the medical situation, report the incident to the police. When the officers arrive, be sure to provide information that is accurate. Do not speculate or guess - if you do not know what exactly happened, then let the officer know.
3. Exchange Information
While you wait for the police to arrive, gather information from all individuals involved in the accident, including passengers. Make sure to obtain each person's name, phone number, address, and driver's license number, in addition to the license plates and insurance information of all vehicles involved. While interacting with other drivers and passengers, speak calmly and clearly.
4. Take Pictures
When the situation is in a more controlled state, use a camera or phone to snap pictures of the accident. Take shots of damage to all vehicles involved, as well as shots of property damage and personal injuries. Try to get as many different angles as you can, but be careful not to interrupt any official investigation that may be happening at the time. These pictures are very valuable, as they will help ensure you receive proper compensation for damages or will serve as evidence to defend yourself.
5. Consult an Attorney
Finally, it is important to contact an experienced attorney as soon after the accident as you can. Attorneys provide expert advice and guidance for navigating the legal process that occurs after the accident. More importantly, having an attorney at your side is essential to understanding and receiving the full recovery compensation you deserve, or defending yourself in court if you are at fault.
Have you been in an accident? At Colley & Colley, we will fight for the rights you deserve. You will pay no attorney fees unless we earn a financial recovery for you. To get started with an experienced attorney, contact us today.