No one wants to get into a car accident. It doesn’t matter if you’ve hit a pedestrian or were struck by a drunk driver. They’re all auto accidents. And the odds are that every one of us will get into a car accident at some point, with most of us experiencing several in our lifetimes. Here are a few tips for dealing with car accidents.
Take care of immediate emergencies first. Get someone with a potential concussion or broken bone seen by a doctor before anything else, assuming you don’t need to pull someone from a burning car. Move the vehicles out of the way of oncoming traffic, if possible, but always set up warning indicators so that someone else doesn’t hit the cars involved. This could be as simple as turning on the warning lights of your car if you can’t set up flares or flashing emergency beacons around the car.
After you’ve reduced the risk to life and property, start collecting information. Exchange insurance information, but verify their identification. For example, you could take pictures of their driver’s license so you know where they live. Take pictures of the people and vehicles involved. Ask for contact information of any witnesses. Record interactions with the police, and take pictures of their badge information.
Talk to an Attorney
It is always wise to consult with an auto accident attorney when dealing with an accident. For example, you don’t want to accept an insurance settlement when you might be eligible for more. Don’t admit to guilt and leave yourself exposed to criminal charges. Discuss the situation with an attorney as soon as all emergency medical needs are met, because their advice could help you gain the necessary photos, witness statements, documentation and records you need to prove your case later.
Make Other Necessary Calls
Call the police. These are the only people who can prove the other person is actually drunk or stoned. This eliminates any accusations of slander and uncertainty, while any such finding will eliminate your liability for the accident.
They will also be able to create a police report of the accident, a third party assessment of the situation that takes the he-said-she-said argument out of the equation. Furthermore, informing them you’ve called the police to get a police report creates the opportunity for police to determine if the other person is driving without a valid license or breaking the law in some other regard.
When you talk to the police, stick to the facts. This aids your credibility if the police report becomes evidence later.
Have a Medical Evaluation
Conditions like whiplash are notorious for only being obvious days after the fact. However, people have tried to go home to recover when they needed medical attention for cracked bones and other serious injuries. See a doctor as soon as possible. This creates an independent third party assessment of your condition. It provides proof of your injuries if they exist, and it gives you peace of mind if nothing is seriously wrong. The cost of this assessment is almost always something insurance will cover.