If you are like most of the population, you probably spend a great deal of time in your car. With the daily commuting to and from work and/or school, running errands and traveling for vacation, the chances are fairly high that you will be in at least one minor car accident at some point in your life. Regardless of how defensively and responsibly you drive, a car accident can happen at any time. So, it is important to know what to do if you are in an accident and why it is essential that you contact a personal injury lawyer following an accident.

Upon Impact

Being in an automobile accident can be a scary and jarring experience, but it is important for your safety to stay as calm as possible. It is extremely important that you never leave the scene of an accident, even if the other driver was at fault. If you leave the scene of an accident and someone has sustained injuries or was killed, you could face serious penalties, especially if you were at fault. The first things to do immediately after impact is to take a deep breath and if you are able turn on your hazard lights.

Check for Injuries

At the time of a car crash, it is normal to be upset and shaken, but it is important that you make sure you, your passengers and any other people who are involved in the accident are okay. If you suspect that you have physical injuries, do not get out of your vehicle. You should immediately call 9-1-1 and request an ambulance and the police. If you are able to get out of your car, make an attempt to talk with the other driver to find out if they are injured. Keep in mind that in some situations, such as on a busy highway, it is generally safer to remain in your car and mouth the words to the other driver “are you hurt”?

Moving Your Car

If you are unharmed, the car accident is minor and your vehicle is on a busy road or in an intersection, you can move your car to a parking lot, to a driveway or off the road. If possible, use your cellphone to take pictures of the accident before either vehicle is moved. Take a picture and make note of the location, including exactly where the car accident occurred, the nearest cross street and the direction you were traveling before the accident occurred. This type of information is extremely important, especially if the other driver was at fault. You may be entitled to compensation for the damages to your car, your personal injuries and/or other expenses, so this information will be beneficial for your case when you contact a personal injury law firm.

Gathering Information

It is important to have as much information as possible about the accident when you go to the consultation with your personal injury lawyer. A personal injury attorney will be able to obtain most, if not all of the information you were unable to get at the time of your accident. While at the scene of your accident, it is extremely important that you only obtain the necessary information regarding the car accident. You should never apologize for anything. For example, do not say “I’m sorry for running that stop sign-are you okay?” This type of statement may be considered as your admission of legal liability for the accident. When talking with the police and/or other drivers on the scene, be cooperative and polite, but do not volunteer any information that may be considered an admission of guilt. The information you should get includes:

The other driver’s name, address and phone number as well as their driver’s license number and insurance company.

The make, model, year and license plate number of the other vehicles involved in the accident.

The name, telephone number and address for all passengers in both vehicles.

The name, addresses and telephone numbers of anyone who witnessed the accident.

The name and badge number of all police officers who were at the scene of the accident and remember to ask the officer when you can get a copy of the police report.

If at all possible, draw a simple diagram of the accident that includes the position of all vehicles involved before, during and after the car accident. Try to include stop signs, traffic lights, skid marks and etc. If possible, use a camera or your cellphone to take several pictures of the scene; getting as much information as possible of the area.

If you need medical treatment, get it immediately. Do not discuss the accident with anyone and contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. It is important that you contact your personal injury attorney before talking to the insurance companies to ensure that any settlement being offered is sufficient for your injuries and/or pain and suffering.