Car accidents can be scary. When you have been in a collision, it can be difficult to remember the right steps to take. However, it is imperative that you do what is required of you to ensure that you are legally protected. Elsewise, you may leave yourself open to civil litigation and/or criminal charges. Listed below are the top 5 things to do if you are in a car accident.
Stop and Check For Injuries
If you are involved in an accident, you are legally obligated to stop. Even if it was a minor “bumper to bumper” collision, you must at least stop. This is the time to exchange insurance information with the other parties involved in the car accident. Furthermore, check to ensure that you and others involved in the collision have not suffered injuries. If you or the other driver has sustained major injuries, immediately contact emergency services.
Contact The Police
Most states will require that you call the police if there is a certain amount of damage or injury attributed to the accident. In the State of California, the monetary damage threshold is $1,000. Other states may require you to contact the authorities for less or more. It is important to know that laws in the state that you are operating a motor vehicle in. Otherwise, it can make it difficult (perhaps impossible), to recoup damages if there is no police report. When speaking with the police, witnesses, or the other parties involved in the collision, never admit fault. Even if you believe that you are to blame for the accident, do not admit it. In some cases, there may be other factors that contributed to the accident that has nothing to do with you.
Protect the Scene and Collect Evidence
The attorneys at Grossman Law Offices recommend that you collect as much evidence at the scene of the car accident as you can (if you are physically able to). Evidence can include pictures or video of the scene, weather conditions, posted speed limits, etc. Furthermore, move your vehicle out of traffic if you can. Otherwise, do not tamper with the evidence. This includes attempting to fix your vehicle on the spot, buffing out marks, etc.
Immediately Seek Medical Attention
If you are seriously injured in the accident, this should be the first step before doing anything else. Sometimes, accident injuries do not become prevalent until hours or days after the accident. It is recommended that you seek medical attention even if you do not initially feel anything. This is because immediately after an accident your adrenaline is rushing through your body which can temporarily mask the effects of certain injuries. Without proper documentation of injuries sustained in a car accident, it can be difficult to seek compensation.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Whether the accident was partially your fault or completely due to the negligence of another driver, working with a personal injury attorney can help to protect your interest. In most cases, personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation and will not charge you for their work unless you win the case. Before you agree to work with an attorney, it is imperative that you understand how they will be compensated and have all of your questions answered before signing a contract.