Here is what you should do at the scene of a car accident to help you protect your best interests:
- Check everyone for injuries and seek medical assistance.
- Report the accident to the police.
- Gather evidence.
- Exchange details with the other driver.
- Make no admission of fault.
- Contact your car accident injury lawyer.
Knowing what to do at the scene of an accident can help to reduce the stress and panic of the situation. Emotions often run high after a sudden traumatic experience, but try to remain calm and follow our auto accident checklist. Meanwhile, we are just a phone call away if you need us.
Seek Medical Assistance: Your Health Is Priority After a Car Accident
You must stay at the collision scene, even if you feel unharmed or there is not much damage. Leaving the scene could make the accident a hit-and-run. If possible, move to a safe place and check yourself and anyone else involved for injuries. If anyone is injured, call 9-1-1 and request medical assistance.
Even if you feel uninjured, some traumas can be masked by adrenaline or may not present until the days following the accident (whiplash or a concussion, for example). Therefore, if you have any unusual symptoms, it is essential to check with a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis. Having your injuries documented will also help with insurance claims later on.
Contact the Police: an Accident Report Can Help Your Insurance Claim
You should also let local law enforcement know about the accident, especially if there are serious injuries. The police can alert emergency medical responders. In addition, the responding officer will make an accident report that can help establish the accident cause.
Gather the Following Evidence If It Is Safe and You Are Able
If it is safe and you can do so, collect information about the accident from the scene. It can help with your personal injury claim. The more evidence you have to support your claim, the more protection you have from fabricated defenses made by the other party.
Here are some examples of evidence to gather:
When taking photographs, pay special attention to:
- Any injuries you sustained
- Damage to the vehicle inside and outside
- The position of the vehicles
- Any debris from the collision or skid marks
- Other environmental issues such as road defects or overgrown shrubbery
- Traffic control devices at the scene
- CCTV devices in the immediate area
- Weather and lighting conditions
If possible, collect the name and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. They may be able to provide objective accounts of what they saw to help support your case.
Keep an accurate account of your version of the events leading up to, during, and immediately after the accident. Writing this down at the scene may be helpful. You must also document how you feel in the days and weeks after the accident, noting any difficulties you encounter with your day-to-day life and work due to your injuries.
This way, you always have a detailed and accurate account of what happened if you are asked to recall details about the accident at a later date.
Exchanging Details with the Other Driver: Do’s and Don’ts
After the accident, exchange details with the other driver. This can include information such as:
- Name, address, and phone number
- Insurance company and policy number
- License plate number
If the other driver is angry or threatening in any way, wait until the police arrive before exchanging information. However, take note of whether the other driver apologizes for the accident.
What You Say Can Be Used Against You: Make No Admission of Fault
If the other driver is injured, it may seem natural to say “I’m sorry” as a means of comfort even if you did not cause the accident. However, apologetic phrases can be used against you as admission of guilt.
Other issues that can harm your case include being tempted to settle the accident without the intervention of insurers or police – the other driver may later change their mind. It is then your word against theirs, which can negatively impact your settlement.
At Your Side When You Need Us: Reach Out For a Free Consultation
After being injured in a car accident, it may seem daunting to manage the workload of a personal injury claim. However, the legal team at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers can shoulder this responsibility for you.
With over four decades of experience in helping more than 50,000 injured and disabled people pursue the compensation they need to move on with their lives, we can help you, too. Call for a free case review to learn about your legal options at (888) 612-7001 today. You can also learn more about our results and how we help our clients from what they say about us.