The adrenaline, shock and potential external or internal injury people experience as a consequence of a car accident could obstruct reason. People tend to get emotional, fearful and chaotic because they might not know how to manage a car accident scene and what to do next. But this is exactly when it is important to remain calm. Here is what you should do after a car accident.
Stay at the Scene
The drivers and passengers should remain at the scene. Even though the accident might initially look like a minor collision because of no immediate obvious injury, it is important to stay and correctly assess the damages. Examine all the people that were involved in the accident and make sure they are able to breathe and move properly. If a person experiences serious pain, do not move them before medical help arrives. If people are hurt, it is important to wait for the police and offer all the needed information about the accident. Fleeing the scene is called „hit-and-run” and might have serious legal consequences like suspension or cancellation of your driver license or even imprisonment.
Avoid Another Accident
If nobody is hurt and the car is drivable, you should move it out of the way to avoid traffic blocking. If the accident is serious, the vehicles should remain exactly where they are. If you move them without correctly assessing the damage, you might cause another accident. Since most car accidents happen in the middle of the road, try to indicate the problem. Turn on your flashes or use flares or road triangles to warn the other drivers. At night, this can be especially dangerous. It’s best that everyone stays out of the road until police and medical help arrive at the scene.
Report the Accident to the Police
Don’t forget to call the police, especially if the accident caused significant physical injury, property damage or death. Note that it is important to get the names and badge numbers of the officers that arrive at the scene. You might believe that is not mandatory to call 911 if nobody got hurt. That is not true. Police officers can help establish who is at fault for the accident in case of a subsequent lawsuit. A police report files critical information about what has happened, including names, contacts, witness declarations, road conditions and an official write-up of the accident.
Accurately Report the Accident
This is crucial after any accident. When the police arrive, it’s vital that the drivers and passengers report and describe the incident as accurately as possible. If you don’t know the answers to any of the questions put forth by the officers, you shouldn’t guess, lie or exaggerate. The truth is mandatory. When asked if any of the parties are injured, it’s best to say you are not sure. With adrenaline and shock running high after the collision, pain might not be immediately obvious.
Take Pictures and Talk to Witnesses
If the driver is able to take pictures of the accident, this should be done immediately after, when the scene is fresh and the damage is visible. This also includes physical injuries of people that were involved in the accident. You might not have a camera on you, but you could use your phone. See if there are any witnesses around. Try to take down their names, phone numbers and addresses and mention them to the police officers. They might be able to offer valuable information.
Drivers that were involved in the accident should exchange valuable information like names, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers, insurance details and phone numbers. If other passengers were involved, you should collect their information too. Document the accident thoroughly because this might help you prove what happened in court should you or the other party file a lawsuit.
Get Medical Care
Many people that have been involved in car accidents report that the pain was excruciating a day or two after the accident. The immediate shock can mask or delay serious symptoms of physical or internal injury. With this in mind, anyone involved in an accident should go to the hospital and require a detailed examination. For example, spine and head injuries can be extremely serious but not immediately apparent. If someone was dazed, confused or unconscious after the accident, he should be immediately taken to the emergency room.
Report to the Insurance Company
Whether you plan to contact the other driver’s insurance company or not, you will have to report the accident to your own insurance provider. Most policies require accidents to be reported immediately and in great detail. Each policy differs, but most of them include medical benefits as part of the coverage. Therefore, the insurance company has to be notified of each medical-related hospital visit.
Keep Detailed Files and Reports
It’s very important and highly recommendable to own a file that includes all the relevant information like the names and addresses of the other parties, dates of medical visits and claim numbers from the insurance company. The insurance company will assign a specialist that will be investigating the accident and you should add his name to your file. Document any other relevant information or details. Any data that could help the case should be kept together for easy access and will help you remain organized and clear about the matter.
Know Your Rights and Protect Yourself
One of the most important things to be done after a car accident is to seek the advice of an attorney. Insurance companies might want the participants to make a statement immediately after the accident. This is a time when things are still confusing and an injured person might insist on being fine. One of our specialists from Vastola Law will let you know what your rights are, as well as providing advice on the next steps that should be done to solve the case. Contact us for further assistance on this matter.
If you have been injured by a car accident, you are owed compensation for your suffering. Contact Law Offices of Vastola & Associates., to discuss your case. We will help you with assistance and consultancy throughout the entire process. We service clients in Stuart, Jupiter, West Palm Beach, and North Palm Beach, Florida.