If I’m involved in an accident, what should I do at the scene?
Automobile accidents can be a frightening experience. Depending on the type of accident and the severity, it can be difficult to think clearly and to know what to do in the moment. The most important thing to do is remain calm. Panic can cloud your judgment, and it makes a bad situation even worse. By following these tips, you can ensure that you can get through this ordeal.
To Move Or Not Move The Car
The long-standing rule has always been that when you are in an accident, never move the car from the scene. However, police officials in California will tell you, if your car is blocking or impeding the flow of traffic, move it to the berm. Now, this is if the car can be easily moved, it should be done. Because the roadways are so busy around Los Angeles and many parts of the state, it can cause more problems to leave a car in the middle of traffic.
Call For Help
If no one is seriously hurt, move the car first, then call for help. Call 911 immediately if someone is seriously hurt. They will get some basic information from you, and they will dispatch and officer or ambulance to the scene. The officer will write up a report of the incident, which your insurance company will need. If there are personal injuries, you want to have them documented, and get checked out by a professional. Keep in mind, not all injuries present themselves at the time of the crash. It could take days for the true impact of the wreck to be felt.
Almost everyone on the roadways today has a camera or smartphone with camera capabilities. You can record interactions with the other driver as well as take pictures of the original stance of the cars. These pictures can be used as evidence to prove your innocence. Also, you need to make sure to take pictures of the location and other pertinent information. In the event, you need to file a suit to get reimbursed for medical expenses, these pictures can be helpful to the court.
If it is safe, approach the other drive to exchange information. If the accident was your fault, the other driver might not be so eager to talk to you. Try to talk to the other party, and get their name and insurance information. However, make sure you do not admit guilt to the accident. You want to make sure that you leave decisions like that for the police to handle.
Get Witness Statements
You would be surprised how many personal injury cases are helped by third party witness statements. These statements are especially accommodating when there is no officer present. If there is inclement weather or there are many wrecks in one evening, you may not have an officer respond to your call. In some cases, the 911 operator may ask you to exchange information and call the local police station with the report. In these cases, having a statement from someone other than the involved parties can be quite beneficial.
Call Your Insurance Company
Whether you or the other party is at fault, you need to call your insurance company. Most agencies have a time frame that they require you to report accidents. They will give you a claim number, and they can also help you to set up a rental car. Make sure you do not talk to the other insurance company. In many instances, the other agency will want you to make a statement. Do not give any statements regarding the accident to the other company. These statements can and will be used against you down the road.
Get Checked By A Doctor Within 24 Hours
If you have any injuries, you need to go to the emergency room right away. If your injuries are not serious, you can see a doctor in the next day or two. You need to make sure you document any bruises, airbag burns, or other problems. Whiplash is a common occurrence after an accident.
Retail Legal Counsel
Once everything has settled from the shock and panic over the accident, you need to consider hiring legal counsel. Keep in mind, not every car accident has grounds for a lawsuit. You need to have sustained injuries and missed work or are unable to complete your daily routine. At Farar and Lewis, there is no fee unless you win. We will review your claim and see if it is sufficient to go to court. We won’t waste your time or ours if we don’t think we can win your case. We have collected over $50 million for our customers, and we continue to help those who have been the victim of a car accident.