Imagine that moments ago, you were involved in a car accident. In all the commotion, it’s understandable that you’re unable to think clearly. If you’ve had alcohol, this has severely reduced your chances of thinking on your toes, but it most definitely increases your chances of the accident. It should go without saying but don’t drink, and then get behind the wheel! Going on the notion that you’re sober though, here is the proper post-car accident procedure.
Step 1: Stop Your Vehicle
If the collision hasn’t already stopped you dead in your tracks, it’s vital that you park your car at the scene of the accident. Any collision more serious than a small bumper to bumper touch requires this of the drivers involved. If possible, try to park your car in a location that doesn’t obstruct the flow of traffic. Remember, leaving the scene might lead to an independent violation.
Step 2: Dial 911
If the accident was anything more than a small fender bender, it’s of the utmost importance to dial 911. Even if your passengers feel fine, there could still be internal injuries that need to be assessed by professionals. If anyone in the accident has been noticeably injured, try to get them to remain still and calm. Don’t attempt to move them. This might result in further injury, and the liability would fall on you.
Step 3: Dial the Police
With medics coming to help, you should also have the police come out. Chances are, the medics will notify a local officer, but it’s best to have all your bases covered. If the accident happened in a rural area, a county sheriff will likely arrive at the scene.
Step 4: Contain the Scene of the Accident
Now that help is on its way, it’s best to take all proper precautions to avoid any additional accidents. Make sure to put your flasher lights on, and have someone stationed on the road to notify approaching cars to avoid the scene. If it’s darker outside, use flares, reflectors and flashlights to make it known to other drivers that there has been an accident.
Step 5: Don’t Speak in Detail About the Collision
Do not comment to anyone about what happened. Basic facts are fine, but any statements that you make about fault and responsibility could be used against you in a lawsuit. The law requires only that you give the other party or officer your:
- vehicle type
- plate number
- driver’s license
- insurance card
Step 6: Take Down the Other Party’s Information
Write down the other driver(s) information listed above.
Step 7: Get Witness Information
Write down the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any and all witnesses as soon as you can. Many bystanders won’t be willing to give out their personal information, as some of them might not be certain of what they saw, and they might not want to go through the hassle of being involved in a lawsuit. Nevertheless, chances are they’ll be willing to help.
Step 8: See Your Doctor
Even if you feel perfectly okay, serious and costly injuries do not always manifest themselves immediately. Internal injuries may occur just from having been shaken up, or even emotional trauma, such as fear of driving or being driven in a car, can also result from an accident.
Step 9: Tell Your Insurance Company About that Accident
Most policies require you to make a complete and immediately report to the company. Failure to do so might alter your rights.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact car accident attorney, Bruce A. Hagen. The law offices of Bruce A. Hagen are a premier Atlanta personal injury practice. Call now for your free auto accident consultation!