Car accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. They’re frightening to everyone involved. Although you may not have your wits about you immediately following an accident, it’s important to keep a few key elements in mind. Look over this list that’s approved by West Coast Trial Lawyers. You’ll feel calmer about the situation as a result.
1. Pull the Car to the Side
An auto injury lawyer would stress that pulling to the side of the road is the first step after a car accident. This suggestion depends on the accident’s severity, however. Pull the car over if it’s possible. Taking yourself out of harm’s way will prevent compounding the incident with further accidents and injuries.
Ideally, use a shoulder or parking lot as a stopping point. You’ll be able to get out of the car without concern about moving vehicles nearby. If the car is disabled, there’s no choice but to remain in place until the authorities arrive.
2. Stay at the Scene
Always stay at the scene of the accident. Leaving an accident that’s even a minor issue can lead to criminal charges. A hit-and-run charge can be easily filed by car injury law firms. You must stay at the scene to exchange information and speak to the authorities. Regardless of fault, everyone involved with the accident must stay.
This rule applies to passengers too. Unless people are too injured to remain at the scene, even passengers need to give statements. All of this information helps the police with fault and possible charges.
3. Take Photos With Your Smartphone
As soon as you’re able to walk out of your car, take your cellphone with you. Snap several photos of the scene. You might even use video that can help a future car accident personal injury lawyer with your case.
Photos of the vehicles from different angles are always helpful. Take photos of the intersection, signs and other pertinent information. If any legal issues develop from this accident, you have proof of your perspective. Most car injury law firms will agree that no one ever wants to take the blame for an accident.
4. Verify the Extent of Injuries With Other Drivers
Observe the other drivers and passengers as they emerge from their vehicles. Ask each person about how they feel. Some people might offer a vague response, so document their reactions with a short note to yourself.
Some people might claim that they have extensive injuries after the accident has been cleared. Your documentation of their reactions can refute these claims.
It’s important to note that some injuries are delayed, such as whiplash. All you can do at the scene is document what you see at that moment.
5. Call the Police
Verify that someone has called the police at the scene. There’s no reason why every driver needs to make the call. It helps every involved person to have the police at the scene. They create a police report on their findings. Simple accidents may only need the report for the insurance company’s needs. Complex incidents, however, make the report an important document for the lawyers.
Keep in mind that some areas are extremely busy with traffic. Posted signs might advise that minor accidents cannot involve the police. You’ll simply deal with the drivers yourself in these cases. A police report will have to be manually filed by each party after the accident.
6. Take Down Pertinent Information
Be civil with the other drivers regardless of who was at fault. It’s important to take down pertinent information. Ask for their driver’s license, registration and insurance. Take photos of these documents to expedite the process.
Make a mental note of any paperwork that’s expired or doesn’t match the person’s identification. Although many states require insurance for every driver, some people try to thwart the system with expired policies or borrowed coverage.
7. Be Aware of Conversations
Keep your senses aware when you’re still at the scene of the accident. Listen for conversations among the involved parties. Any concerning information, such as a person talking about their injuries, should be documented in your notes.
A person speaking about a bloody cut where there is none is an example of a concerning comment. Be sure to document whether this person is truly hurt or not. Scams aren’t uncommon in this day and age.
8. Document the Scene With Great Detail
Aside from taking photos of the cars and intersection, document other features as well. Write down the weather conditions, sun angle and whether there was construction nearby. Every detail is critical to your side of the story. If the accident must be brought to court, you have the facts at hand.
Guessing about these details at a later date will only reduce your credibility.
9. Exchange Information With Eyewitnesses
Bystanders who saw the accident can be extremely helpful if the accident ends up in front of a judge. Speak to anyone who saw the accident from other cars or along the sidewalk. Take down their names and contact numbers for future reference.
You may not need their information, but it’s always good to be overly cautious in these situations.
10. Contact a Reputable Lawyer
You may still be shaken up about the accident, but the other party might be gearing up with a legal suit. Protect yourself from a legal standpoint with the assistance of an auto injury lawyer. These professionals can go over your case, verify the truth and represent you in court.
Select a firm that specializes in auto-accident cases. They’ll know how to deal with your case so that you don’t have to worry about any details. If you aren’t at fault, the attorneys should be able to prove that against any suits that come your way.
Call West Coast Trial Lawyers for your consultation today. These professionals are ready to help you with any questions about your accident. Don’t handle this situation on your own. A car accident personal injury lawyer can guide your way to a better tomorrow.