Moments after a collision, a victim may be disoriented or confused about what just happened. Although it is estimated that a licensed driver will be involved in a collision once every 18 years, many people do not know what to do after an accident.
If you are involved in a car collision, whether as a driver or passenger, the most important thing to do is to remain calm. Oftentimes, emotions such as anger and hopelessness can arise moments after the crash, however remaining calm can help victims handle the situation with reasonable care.
After an accident, drivers and passengers should take the following steps:
- Call for medical services and police assistance; do not assume help is on the way.
- If possible, get yourself and your passengers to a safe location away from any other oncoming traffic. If you are stuck inside the vehicle wait for emergency crews to arrive, but keep your seat belt on in case other vehicles fail to see the accident.
- Write down everything you recall about the accident.
- Take photos of the accident scene, damage to your vehicle, and visible injuries using your cellphone or other available camera.
- If there are witnesses, get their contact information and write down their statements.
- Do not admit fault. Sometimes there are multiple causes of an accident.
- Be sure to file a police report and request a copy, or ask the police officer where you can obtain a copy of the report.
- Seek medical attention if you are injured, or even if you think you may be injured. Some symptoms of injuries such as a concussion, strained muscles or tendons, and bruising can take time to develop.
It is important to keep detailed records and notes about an accident for future reference. Such information can help an attorney build a stronger case against the individual who caused the collision or an insurance company who may be providing inadequate compensation.
Finally, do not sign any paper work you do not understand. Insurance adjusters often show up to scene of an accident in an attempt to settle the matter as quickly as possible. Do not let adjusters intimidate you into signing off on paperwork you do not understand.
Do not give a recorded statement to the insurance company for the other driver. Even if your own insurance company asks for a recorded statement you should not give one until you have recovered from the initial shock of the accident and you have had an opportunity to speak to your lawyer.
Speaking with an injury attorney can help you determine what your legal rights are and if you may be entitled to further compensation for property damage, and physical and psychological damage suffered.
For a free case review, contact the experienced car accident attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan.