Once the car has stopped after those endless seconds and the creaking of metal, it will likely take a moment to catch your breath, examine your injuries, verify that others involved in the accident are safe, and then begin to assess the extent of property damage caused by the accident. After you've taken that deep breath, the next steps can be very important to your health and financial future. Those things include :
- Call the police : The police must be called to the scene of the accident. The police will need to write a report of the facts and potential causes of the accident. If the accident was serious or there were injuries, then you should contact the police by calling 911 for emergency services, or else you can use your local non-emergency number.
- Seek medical attention : Injuries from an accident may be apparent immediately or may develop for hours or even days after the accident. If the injuries appear serious or life-threatening, then you should call 911 and have an ambulance dispatched to the scene of the accident. If the injuries do not seem serious, then you can visit your personal physician as soon as possible. If in doubt, then always lean on the side of caution and contact 911.
- Wait for the police : Do not talk to anyone about the accident, only the police and do not admit any wrongdoing you have committed, including the police. Also, do not apologize for the accident as that can be construed as an admission of guilt. If possible, or have the police investigate the accident in order to warn of any irregularities that may serve to qualify the police report as inaccurate.
- Gather Information at the Scene of the Accident - Be sure to gather names, addresses, license plate numbers, and insurance policy numbers of all other drivers involved in the accident. Also be sure to write down the names, phone numbers, and addresses of witnesses to the accident. If possible, take pictures of the accident scene. If you do not have a camera with you in the vehicle, then you can use cell phones that mostly have such a camera, which you can use to photographically document the scene.
- Obtain a copy of the police report - Police reports are typically available a day or two after the accident. Be sure to ask for a copy at the police station and check if it is accurate.
- Receive ongoing medical care : In many cases, personal injuries sustained in an accident need ongoing care. Your doctor can help you meet your medical needs of this type.
- Call your insurance company : Report the accident to your insurance company, but be wary of accepting any settlement offer before consulting an attorney.
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney - Your attorney can advise you of your legal rights when you are involved in a car accident and should contact you as soon as you are in a position to do so after the accident.
There is no question that car accidents are overwhelming. However, instead of panicking or paralyzing after the accident, follow each of the steps outlined above to make sure your health and rights are well protected.
Talk to a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney Today
This article is intended to be helpful and informative, but legal matters can be complicated and stressful. A qualified personal injury attorney can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local personal injury attorney to discuss your unique legal situation.