Just about the last thing you probably think about when you jump into your car is that you could be involved in an accident at any moment. If you find yourself reading this because you've recently been involved in an auto accident, here are some steps you can take.
Call for Help
If you're reading this, you've probably extricated yourself from your damaged vehicle and should be in a safe place to read this information. Now that you're safe, however, it's time to make some calls.
Local Authorities: although dialing 911 might seem like your best option, if the accident wasn't serious enough to require you and/or the other driver(s) involved to be rushed off to the hospital, calling the local police precinct or county sheriff's office might get you the response you're looking for. Until local the cop, sheriff, or community safety officer arrives, it's important not to engage in conversation with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. The last thing you want is for someone to be able to twist your words or accuse you of something that's not true. Once the authorities have arrived, be sure to get a business card, provide a statement detailing what you remember (be sure not to speculate or guess), and get a copy of the report.
Paramedics: even if the auto accident did not cause you serious trauma, calling them to make sure they document your condition and the condition of the other driver(s) involved in the accident can be very important when assessing fault and liability. This is particularly true if all parties involved in the accident are able to drive away under their own power. Having paramedics on the scene can help you document the actual injuries that occurred at the scene of the accident and can prevent potentially fraudulent medical claims made at a later date.
Auto Accident Lawyer: touching base with an auto accident attorney can drastically expedite the insurance claims and recovery process. When speaking with an auto accident attorney, you should provide them with basic facts of the accident, your insurance information, and the identities of the other driver(s) and their insurance information if they choose to share that with you. Some auto accident attorneys will not ask you to sign a retainer to initiate the representation process, which can give you the time you need to thoroughly read through the terms of your representation agreement.
Before leaving the scene of an accident, you should begin the process of gathering evidence that you can use to defend yourself against lawsuits.
Video: the minute it's safe to do so, start shooting a video that captures everything and everyone involved with the accident. Your auto accident attorney can get individual stills from the video, isolate audio content, and make more informed calculations that might be pertinent to the accident. When shooting video, start with your car. Walk around twice, once clockwise and once counterclockwise. Provide any narration that might better explain the extent of the damage you capture with your video. Next, perform the same with the other vehicle(s) involved in the accident. Although the other drivers, police officers, sheriffs, and/or paramedics might ask you to not film them, you can still keep your video running in your pocket to help you capture any conversations you might have at the scene of the accident. It's important to gather as much content as you can. Don't worry about editing or cutting down the video, as your attorney might find something useful in the most mundane shots/conversations you capture.
To learn more, contact a car accident attorney.