Above All – Be Safe
If your vehicle is still mobile, find a safe spot and pull over to the side of the road. If your car is smoking, burning or leaking fuel get out. When doing so, remember to avoid traffic as best you can. You don’t want to possibly be further injured or cause another car accident!
You will be upset and possibly in pain after a collision so it is important to take a moment to calm your nerves. It is important to not let annoyance, anger or fear make an already bad situation worse. You also run the risk of saying or doing something you may later regret
Call the Police
Law enforcement officers provide an objective report about the car accident for later records. They gather all of the known facts of the traffic accident and interview any potential witnesses. If there are safety concerns, they can help redirect traffic or contact the fire department. It is also a good idea to have them around in case you are dealing with an angry driver.
Do NOT Admit Fault to Anyone
What you say after the car accident can have an impact on your liability for the damages. If questioned, answer each question truthfully and to the best of your abilities. Do not, however, admit fault for the car accident, leave that for others to determine.
Get the Other Driver’s Information
Even if the police come to make a report, it’s a good idea to exchange driver’s license and car insurance information with the other driver. This information can help protect you in the event of a lost or inaccurate report.
It has been said that a good picture is worth a thousand words. This is especially true in the context of a personal injury claim. If you have a camera or even a good cell phone, take some pictures of the intersection and the damage to the cars. If you are unable to take photos, you should not hesitate to ask someone to do this for you. I cannot stress how valuable photographs can be. I make a practice of speaking to jurors after verdict, and when asked what they found most helpful to determine the award, they almost always say that the photographs were the most powerful evidence they received.
Call Your Car Insurance Provider
It’s a good idea to notify your car insurance company soon after the car accident. They will most likely call you or send you a questionnaire in the mail, and it’s best to answer their questions early, so they can act as fast as possible. However, it is always best to speak to an attorney before agreeing to provide a recorded statement. These are rarely in your best interest and what you say can be used against you.
Injuries arising from motor vehicle collisions can be painful and expensive to treat. It is not uncommon to feel little to no pain immediately after a collision, but wake up the next day in considerable pain. Injured victims of motor vehicle collisions not only undergo physical trauma, but such an incident can also be emotionally taxing and drain a family financially. If you have been injured, you are looking at medical expenses, wages lost because of taking time off work to recover, cost of hospitalization, treatment, and rehabilitation. In major accidents, there is the question of whether the victim may be able to return to work or suffer permanent injuries or disabilities.
What To Do Next
- Charge all medical expenses to whatever medical insurance coverage you have.
- Write down your symptoms and what you are feeling each day.
- Avoid tow-yard storage fees by getting your car as quickly as you can.
- If you are too injured to work, tell your employer and document time off work.
Open a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
- Do not speak to insurance adjusters or give any statements (other than to the police) until you talk with a lawyer.
- Do not sign any liens or releases of information without talking to an attorney.
- Do not post any information about the accident on social media – the content of your post can, and almost certainly will, be used against you when trying to file a claim.