If you’ve been involved in a car accident — whether you believe you may have been at fault or not — it’s important that you act accordingly at the scene. Failure to take certain actions may prevent you from having a viable car accident claim later on. Here’s what you need to do right after getting in a crash.
Stay In Your Car If You Can
Don’t leave your vehicle or move it unless it’s dangerous to do so. Turn on your hazard lights.
Call 911 or the Police
If you think anyone might be hurt, call 911 right away. If it’s simply a fender bender and everyone seems okay, call the police.
Get Names and Numbers
Get the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of everyone in the other vehicle and everyone in your vehicle. Write them down, even if you think you’ll remember them. You should also get the names and numbers of any witnesses who may have seen the accident. Witnesses may have a better idea of what happened, especially if you or the other driver were injured and can’t remember the accident very well.
You should also get the names and badge numbers of any police officers, EMTs or firefighters who respond to the scene. This information may be pertinent later and while authorities should record who responded in their files, this is not always the case.
If you are able to take photographs of the scene, do so. If not, task someone else who is able. Getting photos of your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle at the scene can help accident reconstructionists put together what happened and who may be at fault for the accident. Also take photos of the damage to your car and any injuries before they are cleaned and cared for if you can. This can help illustrate the severity of the accident.
Never Admit Fault
Resist the temptation to apologize or assume you are wholly or partially at fault. It’s best not to say anything except to ask for the names and numbers of the parties in the other vehicle.
Contact Your Own Insurance Company
Report the accident to your insurance company. Don’t agree to settle a car accident claim privately with the other driver.
If you’ve been in a car accident, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact Zink & Lenzi Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to learn more about your legal rights. Call now at 530-895-1234.