What do I do Immediately After an Accident?
More than six million accidents happen in the US every year. For perspective, there are states and countries with populations smaller than six million. When accidents happen, those involved can be easily discombobulated and forget what to do in its aftermath. Though confusion and a general lack of knowledge are understandable, the law does not always see it this way. If you do not follow certain protocols after a car accident, you could potentially be held criminally and financially liable for it. Additionally, it is important to ensure that you check on your own health as well as the health of others. Even if you find that you have emerged from the accident unscathed, you have a duty of care to check on the well being of others involved. Taking the appropriate steps after an accident can be especially beneficial if you have suffered injuries due to the fault of another driver. According to car accident lawyers Dennis Grossman and Paul Grossman, it is in your best interest to immediately connect with an attorney after you have been involved in an accident. Learn more about what to do immediately after a collision has occurred below.
Steps to Take After an Accident Has Occurred
If you wish to protect your financial, legal, and medical interest after an accident, it is imperative that you follow the correct steps. Otherwise, you may leave yourself vulnerable to a bevy of negative consequences that could have otherwise been avoided. Listed below are the most important steps in the event that you are involved in an accident.
- Move yourself to a safe area (if possible)
- Check on others involved in the accident
- Contact the police
- Exchange insurance information with other drivers involved
- Seek medical attention
- Collect evidence of the scene (i.e. pictures, videos, identify eyewitnesses, etc.)
- Contact a personal injury attorney
What You Shouldn’t do After an Accident
While there are certain steps that you should take in the aftermath of an accident, there are other things that you should absolutely avoid. When you get into an accident, never drive off without at least exchanging information with the other drivers involved. Most states require a police report if there are any injuries or a substantial amount of damage. Driving away from the scene without fulfilling these legal obligations could result in a hit and run charge being levied against you. Furthermore, never admit fault to witnesses, other involved, the police, or insurance companies. Allow your attorney to fully investigate the accident and come to an independent conclusion of who is at fault. Lastly, if the other driver(s) is at fault for the accident, do not negotiate with the insurance company without the help fo your attorney. If you do, it is likely that you will not receive full compensation for your damages and/or injuries.
Why It’s Important to Consult With an Attorney
If you have been injured in a car accident, it can be difficult to determine fault on your own. Going up against the high powered lawyers and claims adjusters of the insurance company without your own legal representation is a recipe for being taken advantage of. An experienced personal injury attorney is trained to fully investigate accidents, determine fault, and aggressively negotiate with the insurance company. Furthermore, most attorneys offer a free consultation. With this in mind, you have nothing to lose by at least consulting with a lawyer.