7 Things To Do After a Car Accident
1. Stop, but be safe. Stop. No matter how minor the car accident, don’t leave the scene. Check yourself for injuries and then check on your passengers. Turn on your car’s flashers or hazard lights. If it is okay to leave the vehicle, get out of traffic as soon as possible. Move out of harm’s way. Be mindful of your surroundings and make sure that you and your passengers are in a safe place. Watch for other traffic. Move to and then away from the side of the road, not near the edge, and watch oncoming traffic. You’ve survived the auto accident, don’t get hurt now. Move your car only if it is impeding traffic. It’s usually better to leave it where it is. If you have to move it, carefully grab some quick photos first. Don’t let anyone else involved leave the scene, even if they give you their contact information first.
2. Do not acknowledge liability. Legal liability for an accident can be more complicated than it may appear. Immediately after the accident, you don’t have all the facts. Don’t make any assumptions. Don’t apologize for something that may not have been your fault. That doesn’t mean that you cannot be kind and helpful to others involved in the car accident, but you can do so without admitting legal liability.
3. Call 911. Regardless of the extent of injuries or damage, call 911. It will be good to get an accident report if at all possible. It may take them a while to arrive but wait. If they tell you that they cannot write a report or that one is not necessary, get the names of the officers telling you that. They are probably right, but that will help you explain to your insurance company later why you didn’t get one after your car accident.
4. Document everything. Get everyone’s names and contact information. Remember, you don’t have to write it all down, if you can take photos or audio recordings with your phone, that is fine. Take photos or videos of everything:
Documents (insurance, drivers licenses, etc.)
The vehicles involved (from every angle, not just the damaged parts) including the license plates in some
The location of the accident (from every angle and noting any video cameras that may have captured the accident)
The witnesses and their vehicles (including their license plates),
The towing companies’ trucks that are there and their drivers’ names (not just the one getting your car), and
The names and affiliations of the paramedics and ambulance (if they arrive).
When the police arrive, make sure to get their names, their affiliation (or they with the city, the sheriff, the state, or some other agency), and how to get in touch with them. Also make sure to find out from them how, when and where you can get the accident report that they will prepare.
5. Where’s your car? If your car is towed from the scene, know where it is going and how to contact whomever will have possession of it. Do not authorize any repairs or disposal of your car. If possible, get your personal possessions out of it before it goes. If not, get photos of the interior (including the trunk), so that you will know what was there.
6. Call your insurance company. Call your insurance company as soon as possible and make them aware of the accident. They may have suggestions or directions for you.
7. Get medical help. If something is bothering you physically, get help. Something that seems minor could get worse if not treated. It doesn’t hurt to get checked out. And remember, you may feel fine immediately after the accident but feel pain and discomfort later. If you do, get medical help and let them know about the accident. Accidents can also make an existing medical condition worse. If you seek treatment for that pre-existing condition after the accident, tell your doctor about the accident, as it may have made the condition worse even if you don’t think it had any effect.
When to Call an Experienced Huntsville Car Accident Attorney
An experienced Huntsville car accident attorney can help you at any and every stage of this process. The lawyers at Richardson Maples have extensive experience dealing with car accidents of every kind. Contact us today at (256) 533-2440.