Car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents can all be frightening occurrences, especially if they involve an injury or death. Each year, over 37,000 people are killed by motor vehicle accidents on American roads and around 2.35 million are injured or disabled.
If you’ve been in a car accident or have spoken to a car accident attorney, then you know there are certain steps you should take immediately following the crash.
The first thing you will want to do is to remain at the scene of the accident. Fleeing the site of a car wreck can not only void any insurance payout or litigation but can also have severe criminal penalties, especially if someone has been injured or killed.
The next thing you should do is move your car from the path of oncoming traffic, if possible. Leaving your car on the road can potentially cause more damage and further accidents. If you’re unable to drive the car to the side of the road, make sure your vehicle is clearly visible to other drivers using road flares, hazard lights, and anything else you might have at your disposal.
If you’re able, you should check on everyone involved in the accident including the other driver and passengers. Make sure everyone is okay and that no one is severely injured. The only time you should move an unconscious or distressed person after an accident is if they are in a hazardous position, such as in a car that’s on fire. Otherwise, wait for medical professionals to arrive.
Which leads into the next step, contacting the authorities. You need to call 911 after your accident, even if it’s a small one. Not calling will potentially void your claim in the eyes of the insurance company and leave you paying for damages out-of-pocket.
Once you’ve called the proper authorities and no one is in apparent danger, use this time to exchange information with the parties involved. Get the other driver(s) name, phone number, street address, license number, license plate number, and insurance information. You should also ask for the other passenger(s) information as well if there were any. Be as polite as possible when talking with the other driver, and do your best not to escalate the event. It’s also extremely imperative that you don’t say anything that might be misinterpreted. Things like “I’m so sorry I didn’t see you there,” is a possible admittance of fault and legal liability. The police will determine who was at fault when they arrive, although nothing is written in stone.
The last step is a combination of smaller steps. If you can, talk to any witnesses to gather their statements to have a personal account of the events. You’ll also want to contact your insurance company to inform them of the accident. Failure to do so could once again void your ability to make a claim. You should then contact a car accident attorney if needed. An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to help you through the entire process.
While the moments after a motor vehicle accident can be filled with shock and confusion, adhering to these steps will ensure a smooth process.
If you’ve been in an accident, call Stipp Law to speak with a car accident attorney today.