If you're reading this, hopefully, it's before a car accident. Actually, we hope you don't have one at all. But either way, you should be prepared. Car accidents are just scary. And knowing what to do ahead of time will help make sure you don't miss a beat when it comes to gathering the valuable data you might need later if you have to go to court.
We can't be there with you right after the accident, be we do have some helpful tips you can commit to memory so you'll know how to react just the way your lawyer hopes you do.
Report the Accident
Your first instinct will be to make sure everyone is OK. That's not only normal, but recommended. But once you know how everyone is, even if it was a minor wreck with no obvious injuries, call emergency services and sit tight. Remember, people can have fairly serious injuries they don't realize they have at first. Treat every accident as though someone was injured, and hope for the best.
It's natural after an accident, especially one caused by someone else's negligence, to feel like lashing out. Don't attack the other driver or any of the occupants of either car, physically or verbally. In fact, don't talk about the accident at all. You don't have to be rude. Small talk is fine, but you don't want to discuss the accident with anyone but your lawyer or the police until you're sure what the whole picture is.
Stick to the Truth
When the police do arrive, don't lie. You have the right to avoid incriminating yourself, but lying could get you into more trouble later. The lie is likely to be discovered and could cast a shadow of doubt over all your testimony. Or worse, you could lie about something you don't need to and it could turn out to hurt you. If either the police or your insurance company asks you a question you're not comfortable with, you have the right to tell them you don't want to answer until you've consulted an attorney.
Document the Evidence
Need something to do while you're waiting for police? Take some photos with your phone or take notes about the damage to both cars or anything you see you think is significant. Remember, they're going to have to clean the scene up quickly, so get all the information and photos you can, including pictures of damage that's not on your car, like damaged guard rails, broken glass on the road, etc.
Get names and contact info from any of the people who were in the accident or anyone who witnessed it. Don't ignore any witnesses. They all see things from different angles.
Call a Lawyer
Most people make their first call to the insurance company, but that may be a mistake. First, call an attorney. If possible, call the minute you're done at the scene. That's why it's important to have your research on personal injury lawyers done ahead of time. You can just put our information in your phone and make the call. They may ask you to call your insurance company first, depending on the circumstances, but they can give you advice on how to deal with them.
File Your Claim
You'll need to call your insurance company to file a claim as soon as possible. Follow your lawyers instructions on how to talk to them. You may also have to contact the other driver's insurance company. This is where it's extremely important you've spoken with your own attorney first. Whatever you do, don't admit fault of any kind to either insurance company without your attorney's input.
What To Do Now
If you haven't already been in an automobile accident, add a contact to your phone that says "Draper Law Office, Car Accident Lawyer, 866.767.4711" ("car accident lawyer" makes it easy to search for) or grab an extra business card or piece of paper and write "Draper Law Office, 866.767.4711" on it and just stow it away for a rainy day. Don't worry. Your first consultation with us is always free.
If you have been in an auto accident, no matter how minor, contact us at 866.767.4711 for a free, no-obligation consultation.