What should I do at the scene of an accident in which I am involved?
If you’re ever involved in a car accident, it’s vital that you avoid making mistakes, including while you’re at the scene. Making mistakes at the scene of an accident you’re involved in, can come back to haunt you later. To help you avoid problems, additional mishaps, and costly mistakes, here are four things you should always do at the scene of car accident that you’re involved in.
Move Your Car Off the Road
After an accident, it’s human nature to want to just leave your car where it’s sitting. However, that can put you in a dangerous situation. If your car is able to be driven after the accident, even just a little bit – move it as far off the road as possible. Not only will this help you avoid being hit by a passing motorist, it will also allow traffic to continue flowing through the area. This last part will be extremely beneficial if emergency crews need to respond to the accident. Moving your car off the road will make it easier, and safer, for the responding law enforcement officer to discuss the accident with you.
Notify Law Enforcement
As soon as you’re safely off to the side of the road, you’ll need to contact the police. If there are injuries, you’ll need to dial 9-11. However, if there are no injuries, and all the vehicles have been moved off the main road, you can call the main dispatch line for police assistance. It’s important to note that even if you don’t have injuries, you should still notify law enforcement about the accident. First, it will allow you to obtain an accident incident report, which will be important if you plan on filing a claim. Second, it will document all the important details surrounding the accident,
including the names and contact information for the other drivers involved in the accident, names of any witnesses that might be present, as well as a brief description of the accident.
Remain at the Scene
If you haven’t sustained injuries due to the accident, and your car is still able to be driven, you may be tempted to leave the scene. You should avoid that temptation. The last thing you want to do is leave the scene of an accident before you’ve been given the go-ahead to do so. Leaving the scene of an accident can get you into serious legal trouble, especially if there are injuries involved. Don’t risk legal problems. Remain at the scene of the accident until law enforcement gives you the okay to leave.
While you’re at the scene of the accident, you’ll want to document everything you can. Proper documentation is crucial whether you’re the at-fault driver, or not. It’s the documentation you collect at the scene that will provide you with the vital information you’ll need to provide to your personal injury attorney. Here’s how to properly document the accident scene.
When it comes to documenting the accident, pictures are the most important piece of information you can gather. Take pictures of the surrounding area, including street lights, signs, and obstructions to view. You’ll also want to take pictures of all the cars involved in the accident, inside and out. Pay close attention to the damaged areas. Try to get pictures of the airbags. This will help determine how fast the cars were going, and the direction of the impact.
Write Down Street Names
While documenting the scene, you should also take a few written notes, such as your initial thoughts on the accident, as well as the names of the nearest cross-streets. The reason you want to write down your initial thoughts about the accident is because the event will be fresh in your mind. You’ll be able to remember things that might slip
your mind later. For instance, you might remember that the driver of the car that hit you was talking on their cell phone when you passed them at the last intersection. These details will be important should you file a claim.
Gather Witness Information
If you’ve been involved in an accident, witness information is crucial. If there are witnesses at the scene, make contact with them. Write down their names, addresses, and phone numbers. If they’re willing to, ask them to write down a brief description of what they saw at the accident.
If you’re ever involved in a car accident, follow the tips provided above to avoid problems. It’s also important that you contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.