Updated: June 2020
You’ve been in an automobile accident. Many emotions can run through your head during such a difficult moment. Shock, anxiety, even rage can occur following the sudden jarring impact of a vehicular collision. But your actions immediately following an accident can have a huge effect on what comes next, from a legal standpoint.
So, what are the Top 10 actions you should take following an automobile accident?
- 1. Do Not Leave: Leaving the scene of an accident before it is appropriate can have a huge impact on both the case and your life. If you flee the scene, you could be charged as a hit-and-run driver, which carries serious criminal penalties. Remember to always stay at the scene until reports have been filed.
- Health Check: Before determining property damage, be sure to check on everyone involved in the accident. If someone has sustained an injury, be sure to call for medical help first and foremost. This will ensure that the injured party receives care as fast as possible. If anyone is complaining of back or neck pain or appears to be unconscious, do not move them until medical professionals arrive on the scene.
- Alert the Police: The police need to be involved in any accident in which significant property damage, injury, or death has occurred. Once they arrive, you should request a police report be filed. Take careful note of who the responding officers are. Write down their names and badge numbers.
- Get Information: Make sure you gather information from all drivers involved in the accident. Names, phone numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers and insurance policy info are all important. Make sure you know the names and phone numbers of any passengers involved as well. When speaking with another driver involved in the accident it is important to maintain a level head. Always stay cooperative.
- Speak with Witnesses: Talk to anyone who witnessed the accident. Get their names, phone numbers, and addresses. There are many free-to-use smartphone apps for voice recording. Record statements from witnesses on the scene. This can be useful evidence later on.
- Take Photos: Make sure you take photos at the scene to showcase the damage. Another best practice tip would be to take photos of your car now so that in the event of an accident you have a before and after image.
- Be Honest with Your Insurance Company: Make sure you report the accident to your insurance provider right away and be truthful with them. If the insurer finds out that you’ve lied about something, they could deny your coverage.
- Keep Track of Medical Treatment: Make sure that you keep a running log of any doctors and specialists you see in regard to injuries sustained in your accident. Keep a record of all medications, procedures, and bills accrued through treatment of these injuries. Keep a record of how your injuries have impacted your daily life to prove Pain and Suffering in a future court case.
- Watch What You Say: Immediately following the accident, while emotions are high, never apologize or admit to any fault. Such statements could be considered an admission of legal liability. In the following weeks, it is best not to discuss the accident with anyone outside of the authorities, your insurance company, and your attorney. If the other party’s insurance company tries to contact you, do not speak with them. Politely direct them to your attorney to arrange an interview.
- Hire an Attorney: This is perhaps the single most important action you can take following an accident. An experienced personal injury attorney is vital to maximizing your recovery efforts if you’ve been injured, or to defend you if you are at fault. The counsel and efforts of a personal injury lawyer will save you time and money as the case proceeds.
If you have been in an accident involving Uber or Lyft, make sure to give This Article a read. There we discuss if insurance coverage will apply to a ride-share accident.
The personal injury lawyers of The Orlando Law Group specialize in personal injury cases. Seeking legal representation before medical treatment advances is essential to the process. If you’ve been in an accident, call The Orlando Law Group today at 407.512.4394 and book a consultation with a personal injury attorney.