Transit statistics have shown that being in a car accident isn’t a matter of if, but when. On average, the typical motorist should expect to be in 1 collision every 13 years. Whether this collision is a minor fender-bender or a more severe wreck, it’s better to be prepared and know what exactly to do in case your luck suddenly runs out. As the old adage goes, expect the best, yet prepare for the worst.
The following is a list of the six most important things you can do immediately after an accident:
Obviously, calling 911 is the first step if you or someone else has been injured. Even if your injuries appear to be minor, you should consider contacting emergency services or going to your doctor immediately after the accident. Some injuries may seem benign at first, only to grow worse with time.
Regardless of your injuries, you should do your best to make sure a police report is filed about the accident. Filing a police report is important because it allows a third party to assess the scene of the accident and report the facts in an official manner. A police report prevents your case from devolving into a mere he-said/she-said situation.
You should gather as much information as possible while you are still at the scene of the accident. Write down the personal information of the other driver and anyone else who was either involved in the accident or a witness to it. You should also obtain the insurance information of the other driver, as well as their license plate and driver’s license numbers.
If you have paper and a writing utensil handy, try to write out the sequence of events which caused the accident. Short-term memory is known to be unreliable, so it’s easy to forget important details and facts. Remember that the more information you gather, the more you strengthen your case.
Taking photos of the scene of the car accident is also extremely helpful. Seeing is believing, especially when it comes to the law. You should take photos of the damaged vehicles, any injuries you or anyone else suffered, and of the scene, in general. Photos are a great way to build a personal injury case and ultimately prove liability.
No matter if you think you are innocent or to blame for the car accident, it’s always best to not admit fault while at the scene of the accident. Liability is for the insurance companies to determine. If the other driver or the at-scene police officer asks you if the accident was your fault it’s best to simply say you don’t know or just refuse to assign blame.
If you aren’t in need of medical attention and you’ve filed already filed a police report, you should make arrangements to have your vehicle towed to a repair shop if it is inoperable. Even if your vehicle seems to be in working order you may want to have it towed and inspected regardless. The vehicle may have internal damage you are unaware of. Driving the damaged vehicle any further could be prove to be dangerous and could potentially cause another accident.
The cost of a tow can be recouped in your property damage settlement. Plus, there’s no sense in leaving your car on the side of the road to be ticketed or even impounded.
Lastly, one of the smartest decisions you can make after an accident is to hire an attorney to represent your best interests. Building a personal injury case is a complicated and difficult matter. Oftentimes, many victims don’t even know where to begin.
Don’t worry. The Advocates is here to help. Our firm has decades of experience negotiating with insurance companies, helping victims get quality medical care, and fighting for fair settlements. Our attorneys are available 24/7 to help you out in a pinch and do whatever we can to make your life whole again. Call us today at (206) 452-4200. Let us be an Advocate for you.