Dos and Doníts after a Car Accident


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While car accidents are often traumatic events, the things that people do and donít do immediately after a collision often have a dramatic impact on the outcome of their car accident claim. Here are a few things to do and not to do after a car accident to keep in mind if involved in a car accident.

Do Call the Police

While there are certain times when police should always be called to an accident scene such as when someone has sustained a serious injury, states generally have additional rules when police should be called. For example, some states require car accident victims to call the police to the scene if damage exceeds $500.

However, police can also be called in other cases besides those mandated by law. A police officer can help document the accident. Additionally, he or she may make up a report that details information about the accident and records his or her own observations of the scene. There may be mention of skid marks and road conditions on the report. Additionally, the police report might indicate if one of the other drivers was cited for a traffic violation.

Do Seek Medical Attention

While an accident victim may feel fine immediately after a motor vehicle accident, there are certain types of injuries that may not result in immediate manifestations, such as internal injuries or soft tissue injuries. If victims wait for days or weeks after an accident to seek medical attention, it can be more difficult to show that the injury corresponds to the accident.

Do Get Information from the Other Driver

If able, the car accident victim should get all pertinent information from the other driver involved in the accident. This includes, the make, model and license plate number of the vehicle. It also includes the driverís name, address, telephone number and insurance information. Also, record any business name of the vehicle if the other driver was driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the accident. His or her employer may share liability for the accident.

Do Get Information from Witnesses

If the car accident victim is able to do so, he or she should get witnessí contact information. Other people may have stopped to help aid the victim or the investigation. Their information should be recorded before they leave the scene. The car accident victim may call another person to the scene or ask a passenger to perform this job if he or she is not able to do this personally.

Do Take Photographs

If able, the car accident victim should also take pictures at the scene of the accident. Some evidence may be immediately lost after the accident, so it is important that the scene be photographed in its authentic condition. Photographs should include an overview of the accident, any traffic signs near the accident, the vehicle damage and the injuries that the victim has suffered.

Donít Move the Vehicle

Unless the law requires it, do not move a vehicle after an accident. It is important that law enforcement be able to see the actual point of impact to document this information. Additionally, accident victims should not leave the scene of the accident until law enforcement gives him or her permission to do so.

Donít Place Yourself in Danger

Do not stay in a vehicle that is burning or in a vehicle that is likely to get hit again if you can avoid it. Remove yourself from the dangerous area first to avoid further injury.

Donít Dispose of Evidence

When an accident victim takes his or her vehicle in for repairs, it is important for him or her not to have evidence thrown away during the process. Vehicle parts may be needed to show that a part was defective or how the vehicles collided.

Donít Admit Fault

When exiting your vehicle, do not apologize for the accident. Do not admit fault in any way. Also, do not tell anyone that you believe you caused the accident as such information could be used as an admission against you.

Donít Agree to a Recorded Statement without Counsel

Before you agree to make a recorded statement to your insurer, contact a personal injury lawyer. Once your statement is recorded by the insurance company, you are often stuck with it. A lawyer can help review your insurance policy before you make a recorded statement to help protect your legal interests.

Donít Agree to Settlement without Legal Representation

An attorney should review any settlement offer to assess whether it is fair and just compensation.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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