Every driver wants to prevent getting involved in a car accident. However, even professional and experienced drivers are not excluded from being at risk of such a tragic incident. In the United States alone, the leading cause of death among teenagers is due to motor accident crashes.
If you’re faced with the situation, do you know what to do after a car accident? Continue reading below so you’ll be guided accordingly.
Don’t Delay and Call for Help
Call the emergency hotline or 911 immediately. This important step should be your priority to ensure you and all parties involved get prompt medical attention. It’s also a good idea to call a trusted and experienced car accident lawyer, such as Houston attorney Joe Stephens. In that way, you’ll know the legal implications of your next course of action.
Never Leave the Scene of Accident
While you might have an advanced warning of accidents, you’re still at risk of experiencing it when you’re on the road. Unless your safety is compromised, you should never leave the scene of the accident. If someone sustained severe injuries or was killed, leaving the scene would make you look like a hit-and-run driver, and you may face grave criminal liability.
Make Sure Everyone Is Safe and Sound
A car accident can result in minor injuries, from contusions, abrasions, and shallow wounds, to serious ones, such as fractures, loss of consciousness, and paralysis due to spinal cord injury. Don’t provide first aid if you’re not knowledgeable about medical procedures. If your passenger is unconscious, don’t attempt to move the person unless the person’s safety is compromised. Wait for a qualified medical professional to assist the passenger.
Call the Police
It’s crucial to also call the police if there is significant property damage, serious physical injury, or someone died from the accident. A police report should be filed. It is to your advantage to take the name, badge numbers, and other identification of the responding officers. Doing so will ensure that substantial evidence will be gathered to help support your personal injury claim.
Gather Relevant Information
Take several photographs of the accident scene. Shoot from all angles and take a video if you can. These are substantial pieces of evidence you can present before the insurance company and the court if legal problems arise.
Make sure to show this evidence to your lawyer and not to the police officers. This is done to ensure that the content won’t be taken against you. The video may have captured your conversations with the witnesses that can establish your case, but it may also contain uttered words that can incriminate you.
Get the names, contact numbers, addresses, license plate numbers, and driver’s license numbers of all parties involved. Also, don’t forget to obtain all drivers’ basic insurance information. If there are passengers, get their names, phone numbers, and addresses, too.
Never apologize to anyone at the scene. Doing so will give people the impression that you’re admitting legal liability for what happened. Remember that many factors may contribute to the accident. It may be due to a defective auto part, someone was drunk or driving recklessly, or decreased road visibility due to bad weather.
Remain Calm, Cordial, and Cooperative
A car accident may raise frustration and heighten tempers. However, you have to remain calm as much as possible, so your mind is not clouded. By doing so, you can easily remember the details of the accident and can carry out the next steps correctly. Cooperate with the medical team, other parties involved in the car accident, and the responding officers.
Interview Bystanders Who Are Potential Witnesses
If you have the energy to interview bystanders, do it. Ask possible witnesses what they saw. Talk to the locals who witnessed the incident. They could be the people at a nearby restaurant, residents in the area, and employees of various business establishments.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Insurance companies have a clear policy about notifying them if accidents happen. Consult your lawyer and promptly contact the insurance company to let them know you’ve been in a car accident. A personal injury lawyer can represent you by contacting the insurance company on your behalf. This is important most especially if you cannot talk, move, or are still experiencing trauma or are in the hospital.
Wait for your lawyer to arrive before discussing the details of the events with police officers. Also, make sure to keep track of all the medical treatments you received. Request to obtain copies of your medical reports, bills, and police reports. Of course, you can reduce the hassle and stress in doing all these tasks by hiring a dependable personal injury lawyer.