The period of time after an accident occurs is often confusing and overwhelming, especially since everyone involved is in a heightened state of emotion. Despite this, there are a number of things that are very important in both the immediate aftermath of an accident as well as long term, should you end up taking legal action. If you wait too long, important evidence can be lost so it is critical that you act quickly and follow these guidelines.
- Do call for medical help if someone is injured.
- Do call the police. A police report will provide an official and objective piece of documentation of the events that took place. Otherwise, it’s a matter of your word against the other party’s. In some areas, the police will not respond unless there are injuries involved. In these cases it is critical that you get the contact information of anyone who might have witnessed the accident.
- Do exchange contact information with the other party. This information should include their name, address, phone number, driver’s license number and insurance company information. If a vehicle is involved, you should make note of the make and model of the vehicle, license plate number, and take notes as to the extent of damage.
- Do take photos if your phone has the capability or you have a camera with you.
- Do contact a car accident lawyer for assistance and guidance. The accident attorney may want to send an investigator out to gather information and evidence that might prove critical in a case should a legal action be called for.
- Don’t panic. Remain calm and call for help.
- Don’t leave the scene of the accident.
- Don’t discuss the accident with anyone, including the other parties, and either insurance company until after receiving instruction from an experienced lawyer. They can use anything that you say against you, and you might not know that what you are saying could be detrimental to your case.
- Don’t admit guilt, even if it might be your fault.
- Don’t forget to document as many factors of the accident as possible. This might include photographs of your vehicle, the other party’s vehicle, the scene of the accident, and whatever other factors you think might be important to describe what happened.
- Don’t wait to speak with an accident attorney. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to make your case effectively.