5 Things Attorneys Wish Everyone Would Do After a Car Accident
Holiday weekends are busy for all of us and an accident is the last thing you want to have to deal with at a time like that. It doesn’t matter how careful you drive, you cannot control the other people on the road, so it is important to know what you should do in the event of an accident. Personal injury lawyers who represent auto accident victims recommend that drivers be prepared with a list of things to do and not do.
Taking the time to learn these 5 steps can save considerable time and money in the long run.
- Step #1: Stay at the scene – If you have been involved in an accident, the first thing to be sure you do is stay at the scene! This is critical, because leaving the scene could lead to not just civil action but criminal action.
- Step #2: Check that everyone is okay – The next step is to make sure that everyone involved in the accident is physically safe. Do not try to move anyone who has a car accident injury especially someone who is complaining of neck pain or back pain. Contact the proper help for anyone who needs medical attention and remain with the injured person until help arrives. On a holiday weekend it might take more time for help to arrive, but it is important to stay at the scene and make sure everyone in need of medical attention has received it.
- Step #3: Avoid using terms like “I’m sorry” or “that was my fault” – Until all of the information is gathered, don’t make any admissions to anyone. It is too difficult to determine who is at fault or most at fault when an accident has just occurred. Focus on making sure everyone is safe and that all the necessary information is gathered.
- Step #4: Call the police – A police report is something you must request in order to have a record of the incident. Some police departments will not issue police reports unless there is significant damage to the vehicles or an injury to someone at the scene. To ensure that the proper records are kept, always call the police and let the responding officers decide if a report is needed. Make sure to include the names and badge numbers of any officers who responded to the accident, so they can be contacted, if necessary, in the future.
- Step #5: Gather information – After calling the police, gather information from the scene. You will want to take down the names and contact information of the other people involved in the accident. This includes full name, address, and license plate numbers. If possible, take photos of their drivers’ licenses, license plates, and insurance cards to avoid taking down the wrong information. This part of the process can be tense, but it is important to stay calm and simply gather information. Also, look around the scene for potential witnesses and gather their information as well. Ask them what they saw and for their contact information in case you need to follow up with them at some point. Document with photographs or video any damage to your vehicle and to other vehicles. This can be very important later on. If you have any photos of your car before the accident be sure to save those as well. Retain all receipts related to the accident including medical receipts, receipts for repairs, and other expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
When the immediate situation is over, you may want to consider hiring an attorney. An attorney is your advocate, no matter the situation. Having a lawyer to advocate your rights for your injuries or damages in auto accidents/car accident injuries and property claims on your team is always a good idea. Look for a local, Frisco attorney who has a record of successfully representing clients in auto accident cases. If you do choose to hire an attorney, come to your initial meeting prepared with the documentation you gathered relevant to the case.