One minute you’re driving, the next minute it feels like the world is shaking before it all comes to a halt. What just happened? You were in a car accident. What do you do now?
Car accidents can be a frightening experience and cause both physical injuries and emotional trauma to victims, and many times, they are entirely unexpected and happen instantaneously. There are nearly 6 million car accidents in the U.S. every year. Because of this, it’s essential to understand the proper steps to if you’re ever involved in one.
Assess the Situation
First and foremost, you want to make sure that you are physically okay and did not sustain any injuries. After you check yourself, check on any passengers in the car. If anyone is injured, call 9-1-1 or have someone else call, if they can, such as the other person in the accident or a witness. Even something as minor as a fender bender can cause injury to people.
Someone could be injured and be in so much shock that they don’t notice their injury or feel the pain of it. Because of this, you should always call emergency services. Trained responders will come to assess the situation and take care of anyone who is injured.
Exchange Information with the Other Driver
Make sure to pull over to the side of the road or a place where it’s safe so you won’t run the risk of being hit by another vehicle. When both of you are safely out of the way of oncoming traffic, you can begin exchanging essential pieces of information that can protect you later. You should always exchange:
● Phone numbers
● License plate numbers
● Driver’s license numbers
● Insurance information
When speaking with the other driver, it’s also essential to never apologize because, later on, it could be used against you as an admission of fault in the accident.
Give a Police Report
Law enforcement should have arrived at this point. After being assessed by an EMT, make sure to give your statement to police about what happened. Recall all you can before the accident and anything that happened before the police arrived, such as if you spoke with the other driver of the vehicle.
Doing this can help you remember what happened immediately after, as sometimes it can be emotionally challenging to remember the pain of an accident after a long period of time.
Collect Evidence That Helps Determine Fault
While you can give a police report about what happened at the time of the accident, the report won’t necessarily prove fault, especially if the police officer wasn’t there to witness the accident when it occurred.
Because of this, it’s essential to collect evidence that can help your case in the event of a crash due to the negligence of another driver. Some solid pieces of evidence you can collect include:
● Photos. Take photos of everything. You should have photos of what the vehicles involved look like after the accident on all sides, even ones that show no damage.
● Witness statements. If there were any witnesses of the accident, make sure to get their contact information in case you need their statement to prove what happened or what caused the car accident.
● External damages. Look for external factors that help give a clue as to how the accident occurred, such as tire track marks on the road, broken glass, or signs that were knocked down. Again, take pictures of these for later.
If you were transported to the hospital immediately after your accident, see if there’s another person or a witness you can ask to do this for you. Police will take evidence as well, but it’s always helpful to have evidence of your own that you can show to an experienced personal injury attorney later on.
Talk to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
It could be challenging to prove whose liable in a car accident by yourself and who is responsible for compensating you if you sustained an injury. If this is the case, you should be in immediate contact with a personal injury attorney who can help determine how to help you seek compensation for your injury for car damages, medical bills, and loss of income. Panio Law Offices has been helping personal injury victims fight their recovery since 2005, and we can help fight for yours.
Contact our firm at (708) 928-8680 for a free consultation to discuss your case.