You Were in an Car Accident, Now What?
Most of us will be in a car accident at some point in our lives. We may be a driver or a passenger when it happens and no matter what our role is in the accident, we can still be injured. Some of are lucky. We get in an accident and the only thing injured is the car. Others of us are not so lucky and wind up with injury that can be lifelong or even death.
If you are in an accident, it is important that you do the right things immediately after the accident. Ensuring you follow the correct steps can help you protect yourself and later obtain the recovery you deserve for you damages. On the other hand, if you make the wrong statement or fail to preserve evidence, you could wind up paying for someone else’s mistake.
Our suggestions is that you print this page off and keep it in your car next to your insurance. That way, if you are in an accident, you can look this over and make sure you follow each step precisely.
As always, if you have been in an accident and need an attorney, our consultations are always free. Feel free to Email Us or call us at: (918) 631-7181.
Steps to Follow After an Accident
1. Asses the Injuries
Determine if you or any of your passengers (or the driver if you were a passenger) are injured. Figure out how bad the injuries are. When in doubt, call an ambulance. It is much better to later find out at the hospital that you are not hurt as bad as you thought than it is to find out you are severely injured after you get home.
2. Move to Safety
Chances are your car came to rest in a road way where other cars are still driving. If you can do so, move yourself and your passengers to a safe location to wait for an ambulance and police. If you cannot move, at least put on your hazard lights (if they still work) to notify other drivers of the danger.
3. Call the Police
Many drivers, especially if the accident was their fault, will offer to exchange information without the police present. Do not do this. Call the police. The police are independent and will take a report that will later be used in court if necessary.
4. Locate Witnesses
Try to figure out if anyone else saw the accident. If they did, speak with them and get their name and number. You will never get another chance to track down these witnesses and they could help you win your case later.
5. Don’t Apologize
You will most likely speak with the other driver. Many people will say they are “sorry” when they empathize with another person’s suffering. Do Not Say “I’m Sorry”. In a court of law, this will be interpreted as you admitting you were at fault.
6. Do Not Admit Fault
This will be determined later by the police officer, the insurance companies, and in many cases by the lawyers and court involved in the suit.
Just the Facts, Please. When you are talking with the police try to keep your statement as simple as possible and to the facts only. Do not speculate by saying something like, “I guess I could have slowed down more.” or “I might have been able to avoid him if ________”. These kind of statements only serve to harm you later in your case.
7. Note Your Injuries
You will be asked by many people at the scene if you are okay. Even if you feel fine at the time, consider saying something like, “I think I’m okay.” The reason for this is that you are more than likely dealing with a lot of adrenaline after the accident. Excitement and adrenaline tend to make us not feel pain. However, when you get home, you might feel terrible. You might realize you have terrible back or neck pain. The last thing you want to do is say you’re “Fine” and have an insurance company try to use this against you later.
8. Take Pictures
Take pictures of everything.Take pictures of your car, the other car(s), the scene. Any skid marks or a lack of skid marks. Take pictures of the intersection (when safe), the signs, the road, and the people involved in the accident. You should even snap a photo of the insurance card and drivers license of the other driver. Pictures tell a great story. It is important to show what happened and what did not happen. NOTE: Many people used to carry single cameras in their glove boxes for use if there was an accident. Nowadays, most people have cell phones that can take photos. If you do not have a cell phone or if it runs out of battery easily, you may still want to keep a single use camera.
9. Call Your Insurance Agent
Generally auto insurance policies have a time limit for reporting your accident. You do not want to exceed this time limit as it might affect your coverage. Call your insurance agent and notify them of your accident.
10. Are You Injured? You Might Not Know Yet…
Many injuries do not appear until several days after the accident. Whiplash, back injuries, and soft-tissue injuries are known to take several days to weeks to begin to show symptoms. If you start to feel bad, go to a doctor or the hospital. Don’t think that just because you didn’t go to the hospital on the day of the accident that you can’t go now or it is not related to your accident. More than likely your pain is related to your accident.
Contacting an Attorney
Many people find that after a car accident no one wants to take responsibility. The other driver denies it was their fault, the insurance company won’t pay, and you are left with pain, suffering, medical bills, and a destroyed car. This is not fair. If you find yourself in this position, or would just like help with recovering your due after an accident, a Tulsa Personal Injury Attorney could help. The Denton Law Firm still offers free initial consultations for your car accident case. We treat our clients like people and not like paychecks. You can contact us via Email or at: (918) 631-7181.