What To Do If You Have Been In A Car Accident
No one expects an accident to happen to them and when it does happen most of us do not know what to do. Taking the right steps after an accident can ensure your health and safety and protect your rights. Read the following list of steps to take and consider keeping a copy in your glove box so that you can follow these instructions after an accident.
Don't be caught off guard if an accident happens to you!
1. Look for signs of injuries that need immediate medical attention. If anyone in your vehicle is in need of emergency care immediately call 911 to report an accident with injury so that EMS and police can be sent to your location.
2. Call the police. Even if no one needs an ambulance and even if the property damage appears minor having a police report to document the accident is very important for preserving evidence of who was involved in the crash, when it happened, where it happened, how it happened, and the vehicle and insurance information. Dial 911 (if the accident was minor and in Orleans Parish call their non-emergency number 504-821-2222).
3. Remain in your vehicle unless you are absolutely sure it is safe to exit. Depending on where and how the accident occurred it may be possible to get out of your vehicle and inspect the property damage, photograph the scene with your phone’s camera, and speak with the other driver, but you should be very careful when exiting the vehicle after the crash. The full extent of the property damage and your injuries may not be obvious right away.
4. Take note of the other vehicle involved. Most drivers will do the right thing and remain at the scene of an accident until either the police make a complete investigation or the drivers exchange all necessary information. However, some drivers will leave the scene of an accident. When reporting the accident to the police the dispatcher will ask for the identifying information of the vehicles involved. If you can write down the make, model, and license plate of the other vehicle(s) involved.
5. Photograph the scene and the vehicles. The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” exists for a reason. Photos from an accident scene can help your claim in many ways.
6. Move the vehicles (only if absolutely necessary). Whether or not you should move your vehicle after a collision depends on where your accident occurred. It is best to leave the vehicles where the crash occurred until the police arrive but you should not do so if it is dangerous to do so or if it stopping other traffic. If the collision happens on the interstate or a similar highway you should move your vehicle to the shoulder of the road or to another safe location as soon as you know it is safe to do so and you have reported the accident to the police. Make sure the dispatcher knows the location where the accident happened and where you have moved to before you hang up with them. If necessary call them back to notify them if you move away from the scene.
7. Talk to the other driver(s), if you can do so safely. If it is safe to exit your vehicle go to the other driver and check if they are okay. Let them know if you have already called the police and if they are on their way. If any one in the other vehicle needs immediate medical attention make sure that 911 has been notified.
8. Talk to the investigating police officer. When the police arrive they may ask you to move the vehicles from the roadway before continuing their investigation. Explain to the officer as clearly, simply, and accurately as you can what took place leading up to the collision, during the contact, and immediately afterwards. The officer will need you insurance documentation, registration, and driver’s license in order to make the report. Make sure he or she receives the information for everyone who was in the vehicle especially if they have gotten out before the police arrive.
9. Decide whether to tow your vehicle or drive your vehicle home. Carefully assess whether or not your vehicle is drivable after the accident. Even if it appears drivable you should be cautious as many times damage to your car, truck, or SUV is not visible but can make it hazardous to drive.
10. Contact an attorney. Statistics show that individuals represented by attorneys are more likely to recover more money than those without attorneys. No attorney can guarantee a result but getting the insurance company to handle your claim fairly and provide adequate compensation begins with selecting an experienced, knowledgeable, and professional attorney. At JW Law I will be happy to guide you through the process from start to finish and make the process of recovering from your auto accident as smooth as possible. Call, text, or email me today so that I can help you.
11. Get medical treatment for your injuries. Many injuries are not evident at the scene of the accident and can develop days later. By getting prompt and expertise medical care you can preserve a record of the consequences of the collision and how it affected you.
12. Get your property damage repaired. An experienced attorney can guide you through the claims process either with your own collision coverage or with the other person’s insurance to make sure your car is repaired full and you are compensated for the damages to your property including applicable rental reimbursement.
This webpage is intended as general information only and is not the professional advice of the responsible party nor does it any way form an attorney client relationship. For advice applicable to your specific and unique situation consult with an attorney of your choosing.