You need to know what to do at the scene of a car accident and in the days and weeks following the event. Contact Morelli Law Firm at (212) 751-9800 for guidance.
A car accident can lead to court and insurance battles. Thus, irrespective of how dangerous the accident is, there are vital factors that will determine the success of your case. Remember, what you do or fail to do immediately and after the accident can influence your compensation claims.
What to Do at the Scene When You Get in a Car Accident
First and foremost, stop your car. The police might assume that you were at fault if you continue driving your vehicle after an accident. According to the law, you must stop when involved in an accident leading to injury, death, or damages to other vehicles or any property.
If your car can still move, pull over, turn on the hazard lights, and ensure that you do not block the flow of traffic.
Confirm Whether There Are Any Injuries
Confirm that you, the other driver, and all passengers are okay. If people are injured at the scene, start administering first aid. Even if the injuries seem minor, a doctor might identify other serious injuries that might not be apparent to you.
Call 911 in case of serious injuries. If several people have sustained severe injuries, call the paramedics so that everyone can receive proper medical attention. When you get in a car accident, call 911 immediately. Inform the operator about the seriousness of the injuries and the location of the accident.
Inform the Police
Calling the police is in your interest as you will need the official police report when claiming compensation from your insurance company.
When informing the police about the accident, tell them your official name and the location of the accident. Additionally, cooperate with the police entirely when they arrive, but avoid issuing statements that might imply you accept responsibility for the accident.
Get the name of the police officer, the police report number, and a copy of the police report.
In case you have a smartphone or a camera, take pictures and videos of the accident scene. Essential photo and video evidence should be on all the vehicles at the scene, the extent of damage, and the position of the cars. Gather adequate evidence before the police arrive as they may restrict some activities to avoid contamination of the scene.
There are several types of evidence you need to collect from the other driver, such as:
- Full government names
- Address and phone number
- Driver license number
- Vehicle plate number, color, and model
- Vehicle insurance number
Typically, court cases are won or lost based on evidence and eyewitness accounts. When you get in a car accident, ask the witnesses for their names and contact numbers immediately. It is better to record their statements quickly before they forget, change their mind, or distort what they saw.
Call (212) 751-9800 to speak to a member of Morelli Law Firm for guidance on how to properly collect the evidence.
Do Not Over-Share or Admit Guilt
When emotions are still running high, you might feel the urge to apologize. However, letting your emotions cloud your proper judgment might make you accept responsibility unknowingly. As long as the other driver is safe and you have notified the paramedics, avoid any form of interaction with them.
What to Do After You Leave the Accident Scene
After you leave the scene, double-check yourself for injuries. It is possible to get injuries and not realize it; therefore, seek medical attention sooner rather than later. After a car accident, you may experience an adrenaline rush, and when it combines with the surrounding commotions, your pain receptors can numb. For example, a concussion is one of the injuries that might not be apparent to you immediately.
Nevertheless, most accidents lead to a variety of injuries, such as:
- Head injuries (skull fractures) and traumatic brain damage
- Herniated disks (This does not usually have symptoms according to the Mayo Clinic)
- Broken ribs and bones
Engage a Dedicated Attorney
Perhaps you are unsure whether to inform the insurance company or your lawyer first after you are involved in a car accident. It is advisable to engage both professionals as they play a vital role in ensuring full compensation.
Attorneys will determine whether you were at fault, but if it was the other driver, then they will fight for compensation. Although you can settle with the insurance company without a lawyer, this is ill-advised. The amount of money you may receive may be insufficient for all the damages you incur, including aftercare treatment costs.
Attorneys must protect your interests, so they will comply with all procedural requirements and ensure that you do not miss any crucial deadline related to your case.
Call Your Insurance Company
Keep in mind that you will also need compensation for your injuries from your insurance company when you get in a car accident. Therefore, notifying them of the accident is recommended. Although you can wait until you get home before informing your insurer about the occurrence of the accident, do it as soon as you can. Do not admit fault to them either or say that you feel fine as this can weaken your case.
If you miss any critical deadline, for example, filing a claim, you cannot assume your insurer will treat you fairly. Inform them immediately so that they can start their investigation of your complaint.
Contact Morelli Law Firm
The process of seeking justice for your injuries when you get in a car accident can be daunting. However, when it happens, stop your car, remain calm, inform the police, and collect evidence. Shortly afterward, seek medical attention and notify your insurance company. Contact Morelli Law firm at (212) 751-9800 for legal guidance on how to handle your case.