What Should I Do When I’m Involved In a Car Accident?

With over seven million car accidents taking place in the streets and highways of United States each year, the number of victims has increased in equal measure. Fortunately, some of these accidents involve only property damage, while other have serious personal injuries.  But according to recent statistics, one in every three car accidents involve personal injuries to the passengers or driver, and out of the same number, around 1% result in fatal injuries.

As sad as this may sound, drivers can still prepare themselves on what to do what they are involved in a car accident.  If you sustain serious or permanent injuries, following these rules will help ensure that the negligent parties are held accountable.  When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is in your best interest to keep a calm demeanor and follow the appropriate steps. Some of these things may seem inapplicable or unimportant, but it is these small things, which matter when you have a personal injury lawsuit.

Below are some of the key things that you should watch out for and do when you are involved in a car accident:

Do Not Move Your Vehicle

It is typical for most drivers to move from an accident scene to a more convenient location.  But for major wrecks, especially where fault will be questionable, you should leave your vehicle exactly where it is.  You will want to thoroughly document the placement of the vehicles at rest for a a bio-mechanical expert or physics expert to determine fault.  Regardless of your role in the accident, you should never drive away from the scene of the accident, no matter how minor it seems. Once you drive off, the investigating authorities may hold you criminally responsible for leaving a scene of an accident, in addition to holding you responsible for the accident.  In this scenario, proving your innocence will be an uphill task.

Call the Necessary Authorities

We are accustomed to calling the police whenever an accident involves multiple injuries who need immediate medical treatment. However, even without injuries, it is still advisable to call and inform the local police about the accident.  Injuries sometimes take multiple days to appear, especially in the case of neck and back pain.  Always remember that during your claim, your personal injury lawyer will want a formal police report to act as evidence.

Keep Every Record

Record keeping is a key aspect whenever you want to seek for compensation after a car accident. As the police arrive at the scene, you should engage the investigating officers by telling them everything to the best of your knowledge and ability. If you are unsure about a certain aspect, do not guess or speculate any facts.  Write down the police report number to receive a copy of the report in a few days.

Always Take Pictures

In case you have a camera on your dashboard, or even your phone, you should immediately take photos of the vehicles involved if there are visible dents or damages. This should also be the case if you sustained visible injuries. But while doing so, you should also ensure that you do not interfere with the investigations being carried out by police. Take photos of the scene, the other driver’s license plate and driver’s license, in addition to their insurance card.  If you have any visible injuries (bleeding, bruising, etc.), take photos of that as well.  You should also obtain the names and addresses of all people who witnessed the accident. Witnesses will play a critical role in your claim, and having their contact information will be a huge help.

Seek Medical Help

In some motor vehicle accidents, the injuries sustained do not seem like an emergency. You may have body soreness.  However, if the pain does not go away after a couple days, it is highly advisable to seek professional medical attention to fully understand any longer-lasting injuries you have, including disc herniation or vertebral fractures.  If left untreated, some of these damages can become more severe or permanent.

Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company

Immediately the accident occurs, you should notify your insurance company in the shortest time possible. Majority of the insurance companies require that you notify them of the accident once it occurs. By doing so, your insurance company can set up a claim and also communicate to the insurance company of the other driver.

Talk To a Personal Injury Attorney

The greatest asset you can have by your side after being involved in a car accident is a personal injury attorney. Your lawyer will absolutely help in protecting your rights by making sure that no piece of evidence is lost or tampered with. What’s more, having a seasoned personal injury attorney as your representative will relieve you of the demanding court process.  Before embarking on filing a personal injury lawsuit, we highly recommend that you sit down with an attorney for a free consultation to explain to you your options going forward.