What You Should Do if You Are in an Accident
By: Attorney Tim Bottaro | May 2020
Being in any kind of an accident (whether a car accident, motorcycle accident, semi accident, a bicycle/car accident, or a pedestrian/car accident) can be overwhelming, scary, and even life-altering. It is always a good idea to be mentally prepared for such an occurrence. Then, you know exactly what do to ensure you are well protected in the event you need to file a personal injury claim/lawsuit.
What Should I Do After An Accident?
- Call 911
- Tend to your injuries and/or those of your passenger(s)
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver
- Take photographs of the damage to the vehicles, the scene, and any visible injuries you or your passenger(s) may have (if possible)
- Gather names and phone numbers of any wittness(es) before they leave the scene (if possible)
- Seek medical attention (if needed)
1. Call 911
If you are in any sort of a car accident, the first thing you should do (if you are able) is call 911. Do not agree with the other driver NOT to call the police. If problems develop at a later time, you have no official investigation as to who is responsible for the accident. Sometimes, people give a false name and/or contact information. Your insurance company will want proof there was an accident, so they ask for a police report.
Once the police arrive, be sure to tell the police officer what happened in as much detail as possible. Obviously, you should be honest. If you are injured (even something as simple as an ache), tell the police officer. If you later claim you were in pain at the scene, this conflicts with the fact you told the officer you were okay. DO NOT be a hero by minimizing or ignoring any pain, and DO NOT exaggerate. Tell it the way it is.
2. Tend To Any Injuries
You should determine if you or any passengers are injured. If so, tend to those injuries as best you can until first responders arrive.
3. Exchange Information
If you are physically able, you can begin exchanging information with the other driver – particularly insurance information. However, this is not always needed, as the Police will obtain this information and share it with you.
4. Take Photos
If possible, pictures should be taken showing the damage to the vehicles, the location of the accident, any visible injuries, etc. Sometimes, the Police take photographs, which can be obtained with a subpoena. If you are injured to the point that you are taken by ambulance to the hospital, try to take photos of your injuries, casts, medical equipment, etc. Ask a family member or friend to assist you if needed. As far as damage to your vehicle, photos can be taken at a later time. You should only take photographs if you are physically able to do so. Realize the inconsistency of claiming you are badly injured, yet you are able to walk around taking photographs, talking to people, etc.
If there are witnesses who are willing to stop and provide assistance before the Police arrive, try to get their name and contact information but only if you are physically able to do so. Having independent witnesses always helps your case. They can provide an outside view of the accident and provide support for the findings of the investigating officer in the Accident Report.
6. Seek Medical Attention
As far as injuries go, it is not uncommon to feel “okay” at the scene and then later your body starts aching from the trauma that occurred in the accident. It is ultimately your decision, but if you are having pain or other issues following an accident, you should strongly consider seeking medical attention to find out what is going on (at the very least).
If you are uncertain as to your legal rights regarding any property damage and personal injuries caused by a car accident, you should consult a lawyer. A personal injury lawyer can assist you in assessing a multitude of facts which determine the merits of your case.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this blog post is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. By visiting this website, blog, or post, you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Vriezelaar, Tigges, Edgington, Bottaro, Boden & Ross, L.L.P. law firm attorneys and the website publisher. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Vriezelaar, Tigges, Edgington, Bottaro, Boden & Ross, L.L.P. law firm or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act (or refrain from acting) on the basis of any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.