What To Do If You've Been In A Car Accident
If you have been in a car accident, you or the other people involved could have serious injuries. Extreme emotions could be in the air. Still, you need to do some important things at the scene of the accident and quickly after. Here is what you should do:
Don't Leave the Scene
Stay at the scene of the accident until appropriate because someone could be injured or worse. A report by the National Center for Health Statistics estimated that car accidents caused more than 33,000 deaths in 2013. If you leave the scene too soon, especially if someone was injured or killed, you could be charged with serious crimes, such as being accused as a hit-and-run driver.
Check on the Other Passengers and Drivers
Before you inspect any damages to vehicles and property, you need to check if the people involved are injured. If someone needs medical attention, help them get it. Be sure to avoid moving anyone who has neck, head, or back pain, as they could be injured in those areas. Only move them if qualified medical personnel request your help or if the injured person must be moved to avoid immediate danger.
Call the Police
Always call the police if there is any physical injury, death, or damage to property (including vehicles). When police arrive at the scene, request a police report to be filed and then note the badge numbers and names of any responding officers.
Obtain any names, addresses, contact info, and vehicle info such as insurance and license plate numbers from the other people involved. Also be sure to give them your information.
Different states, counties, and cities have certain laws regarding legal liability. Do not say that you are sorry for running a stop sign or anything like that, just to be safe. While it may seem polite, apologizing could qualify as admitting liability.
Speak with Witnesses
Ask the witnesses what they saw. Note their contact information, as you may need to ask them to give a statement in the future.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Tell them everything as you remember it. Cooperate by providing facts and relevant details. If they find out that you have misled or lied to them, your coverage could be dropped.
Consider Hiring a Lawyer
When someone is injured, you should speak with a qualified attorney. If you are at fault, an attorney can help you defend your rights. If you were not at fault, a lawyer can help you get the compensation you are entitled to.
If you are in an accident, it is important to remain calm. Follow the steps above diligently. If in doubt, it is always wise to avoid admitting fault and to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Contact a legal team, such as Scherline And Associates, for more information.