Being involved in even a minor car accident is frightening, and a driver’s first impulse is to head off somewhere for help or consolation. Curbing that instinct is more important than you may think. Even if you’re the culpable party, you may not be able to improve your lot, but you can certainly keep it from becoming much worse.
1) Exchange Insurance Information
If another driver was involved in your accident, exchange insurance and contact information. Whatever you do, even if you’re sure you caused the accident, don’t admit guilt, and don’t make side deals which you may later come to regret. Many victims of an auto accident will shrug an incident off at the scene but then have a change of heart after they speak to someone else. Then they contact their insurance companies and the police and skew facts in their favor, while you’ve damaged your credibility by failing to report anything at all.
2) Stick Around and Wait for the Police to Arrive
Leaving the scene of an accident is not just unwise but it is a criminal offense. It can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the extent of personal injury or property damage that occurs. A driver involved in an accident also has a duty to give what aid he can at the scene to the other driver and any passengers. Failure to do so is a criminal act as well. If asked by the police to make a statement, remember that any admissions you make about your own conduct behind the wheel can be used against you. Be factual but make no confessions.
3) Take Contemporaneous Pictures, if at all Possible
Make use of that mobile phone you carry with you everywhere. Document injuries and damages, but don’t forget the scene itself. The weather and road conditions, highway signs, traffic signals, and lane markers may all be very important some day. It’s also vital that at least some of your photos conclusively establish the specific location of the accident, so include what street signs and landmarks are available. Keep in mind that scenes change, and on a well-traveled highway or road, they can change very quickly.
4) If you are Injured, seek Prompt Medical help.
5) If needs be seek the Advice of an Attorney
You will need to talk to your insurance company, but before you do and certainly in case you are ever contacted by the other party’s insurance firm, find yourself an accident/personal injury lawyer before calling your carrier. Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, you need experienced counsel to tell you how you can most safely put your facts on your insurance statement, in case you end up in litigation.
Kathrine Kreger, is a freelance writer from Eugene, OR. She loves museums, art and football. For those who are looking for a reputable personal injury attorney, look to (http://www.personalinjuryattorneycovington.com/services/).