WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE IN A CAR WRECK?
1. Secure yourself and others
Try to make sure that everyone is safely out of harm’s way before you do anything else. Are you on the freeway? Are cars approaching fast? It may be best for you to activate your flashers and then leave your car in order to avoid a secondary accident. You will have to make this judgment at the time. You have to try to keep yourself and others out of a secondary collision.
2. Watch what You Say
Emotions run high after a wreck. Be very careful what you say and do. People are watching and listening and what you say and do may very well end up in the police report or witnesses may testify about what they saw you do or what they heard you say.
People are proud. They say they are fine even when they are not fine. Don’t say that you feel fine because most of the pain in a car wreck comes on the second or third day, anyway.
3. Call the Police
It is important to try to get law enforcement to the scene, as soon as possible, in order to avoid the loss of evidence. Sometimes witnesses may want to drive away. It may also be necessary to request an ambulance.
4. Take photographs before the vehicles are moved!
If possible, try to safely photograph the scene before the vehicles are moved. Take many photos from several different angles. Photograph the damage to the vehicles and also photograph the debris in the street. The debris in the street can often be very important! Try to photograph the license plates of the other vehicles and also whatever signage or wording may be on the side of any truck or commercial vehicle that may be involved in the collision. Photos are better if you stand a few feet back from whatever you are photographing in order to gain perspective. Photographing the scene, in this manner, really only takes a few minutes.
5. Exchange information
While waiting on the police, exchange driver’s license information and insurance information with the other drivers. Also, be sure to write down and/or photograph the license plates of the other vehicles.
6. Eyewitness information
Did someone see the collision? Be sure to get their contact information as well as what they are saying that they saw. Witnesses will often provide you with their address and phone number. It would also be very helpful, if they are willing, to obtain their driver’s license number.
7. Seek Medical Attention
Are you hurting or did you hit your head? Go see a doctor or go to the emergency room. Many people feel that if they just “wait it out” then they’ll get better in time. However, gaps in treatment will be used against you by the other side. So, when in doubt, let a doctor check you out.
8. Avoid Gaps in Treatment
Seeking treatment immediately, if you are in pain, not only helps you to get better, but it also prevents the other side from claiming that you couldn’t have been hurt because you never went to the doctor. After you are injured, long gaps between medical treatments will be used against you.
9. Don’t talk to the other driver’s Insurance Company
If the other driver’s insurance company calls you, don’t talk to them. It is always a good idea to contact an attorney before you give any kind of statement. We have seen good people innocently give statements that were later used against them by insurance companies who seek to avoid paying claims.
10. Don’t Post on Social Media
Insurance companies who are trying to avoid paying claims will often monitor your social posts in order to find photos, for example, or other things which they can then use to show that you are not injured. Something as simple as just a photo of you looking happy can then be used against you.
11. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
Remember . . . . . it’s a free call! Consultations are free. A qualified Personal Injury attorney can help assess your situation and provide you with guidance as to how to move forward with your case. Gary Freeman has been handling personal injury cases for over 30 years. We are happy to speak with you and we don’t charge for consultations.
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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.