Whether you think you are at fault or the auto accident is the result of the negligence of another driver, there are certain things you must be doing after the accident that will help with your case months or years down the road. Calling 911 and the police is of course obvious, what is next however might not be.
These are four things you must do after an accident, regardless who was at fault;
1. Getting the Other Driver’s Insurance Information
If you are severely injured after the accident, it is important that you get the insurance information from the other driver. This is not a court and this is not the time to determine who was at fault, even if it is clear for the moment who is responsible. Sharing the insurance information will allow both parties to continue the conversation through the proper channels so that the innocent party is made whole. Regardless the extent of the damages or if injuries were involved, it is crucial to get the other driver’s information.
One thing that should never be done at this point is waving filing a report and handling things between the two parties. This never goes as planned, because once you leave the scene, the other party could turn around and sue you and now you have no police report, no evidence, and serious charges coming your way that you will need to defend.
2. Going in the Ambulance to the Emergency Room
Regardless if you were injured or you think you are fine, when the police officer calls for an ambulance, take a ride to the emergency room. The reason this is so important is that when you take the ride in the ambulance, this will be noted in the police report. Had you refused to go to the emergency room, it would have been noted by the police officer and this could come back to bite you if the case ever goes to trial and you decide to sue for injuries.
What is important to remember here is that you are not a physician, and although you feel fine now, it could be that adrenaline is still coursing trough your body and you feel no pain at the moment. Once the excitement of the event wears off, you may find the next day you can barely move or you are suffering incredible pain.
3. Getting Pictures of the Surrounding Area
Things are going to be happening in the blink of an eye after the accident. If you are able to move, get as many pictures with your phone of your vehicle and the other driver’s car. Preserving this evidence is crucial whether you are guilty or innocent of causing the accident. The thing to remember is without pictures, the other driver can leave the scene and make things worse and file a claim with their insurance company saying you caused all the damage.
Without pictures of the damage to your car, your insurance company could also claim that perhaps things were made worse after the fact. If you are unable to take pictures, ask the officer on the scene or any witnesses if they would be willing to document the accident for you so that you have the evidence if the case goes to trial.
4. Speaking with a Local Personal Injury Lawyer
Even if you are being taken to the hospital in an ambulance, grab a phone and call a local personal injury attorney. The attorney will meet you at the hospital, your home, or in their office. The sooner you call, the sooner they can send their investigative team to the scene of the accident to take videos, pictures, and measurements of the surrounding area. Preserving this evidence is key when a case is presented in a court.
If you were injured, your attorney will fight on your behalf to hold the responsible party accountable so you property is repaired, your medical condition addressed, and your pain and suffering compensated.
Now that you know the four things you must do after an auto accident, there is less chance of you not having solid evidence to help prove your side of the story if the case eventually goes to court.