An Insurance Lawyer’s Advice on What to Do Following a Vehicle Collision
Every time you drive somewhere in your car, there is a risk—however minor—of an accident. This risk is further exacerbated in difficult driving conditions, such as rain, snow, or ice. The best measure one can take towards road safety is planning and preparing for every possibility. This includes having a plan even for what to do if the worst should happen and you find yourself in a collision. From checking for injuries to calling emergency services and contacting a trusted insurance lawyer, leave no detail unconsidered.
Your First Priority
Your first priority should absolutely always be ensuring that you and your passengers are safe and uninjured. For this reason, as disoriented as you may be following a collision, the first moments once your vehicle has stopped moving are crucial. If you detect any sign of injury, or are trapped and unable to leave your vehicle, contact emergency services at 911 before doing anything else. Be sure to turn on your hazard lights and be as accurate as possible about your location.
It’s vital to note that not all injuries are immediately apparent. For your own sake, if you experience any pain or discomfort following an accident, seek medical attention as soon as you are able. This may also help a car injury lawyer by creating a more accurate reconstruction of events.
What to Say
When speaking to police, emergency crews, or the driver of the other vehicle, make sure that you provide an accurate description of the events leading up to and including the accident. You should also advise any police or emergency personnel about any injuries or symptoms you are experiencing. Exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver or drivers.
Although you may feel bad about what happened, you are not required to apologize or admit that the accident was your fault. You should also be careful about what you discuss with anyone at the accident site. This includes medical personnel, witnesses or even the other driver. Statements given to other parties or discussions with people at the scene can be used when fault is ultimately being determined. Wait to discuss all aspects of the collision with your insurance lawyer after the fact.
Other Things You Can Do
In the event that there are no serious injuries requiring immediate attention, there are still steps to be taken besides the classic “exchanging information.” You should start by calling 911 to report the accident. This will allow police to attend and complete a report, something your car injury lawyer may rely upon later on. Take out your mobile phone, and use it to take pictures of the damage as well as the accident scene. Also try to collect contact information of any witnesses who agree to provide testimony should it become necessary. When you’re dealing with the other driver, do not offer or accept any kind of under-the-table deal or cash compensation, which may further complicate things should the matter go to court. If you are injured or experiencing symptoms at the accident scene, even if you believe they are not serious, allow medical personnel to check you over and if necessary allow them to transport you to the nearest hospital for diagnosis and treatment.