What Do You Do First on Scene of Accident?
Car accidents are scary and stressful, and it can be hard to know what to do in the moment. However, there are certain steps you need to take after an accident to make sure everyone is safe, the law is followed, and important evidence of how the crash occurred is preserved.
Always stop after an accident, even if it seemed like a minor one. Never drive away as it is against the law.
2. Call 911
No matter if the accident was a minor fender bender or a serious collision, it is vital to call the police. In fact, in many states, it is legally required to call the police in the event of a car accident. Even if it’s not legally required, it’s still a good idea, as a formal police report can only help you down the line in an insurance claim or lawsuit.
If the police can’t come to the scene or you choose not to call 911, go to the closest police station and file an official report yourself.
3. Check for injuries
Your priority should always be your safety and that of any passengers. Check for injuries, and if anyone is seriously injured, tell 911 and wait for emergency personnel to arrive.
4. Gather information
Always exchange information with the other driver, including:
- Contact information like phone number and email address
- Insurance company and policy number
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
- Vehicle details like model and color
Take care to avoid discussing fault while exchanging information, as this may hurt an insurance claim or lawsuit down the line. You should also avoid apologizing, as this can be seen as an admission of guilt.
5. Document the scene
You will need thorough documentation of the scene and accident when making an insurance claim or filing a lawsuit, as any adjuster or lawyer will inspect the documentation and evidence to determine liability.
In order to protect yourself and ensure the truth is told, be sure to do the following:
- Write down the name and badge number of responding officers
- Take pictures of the vehicle damage and position, license plates, tire marks, property damage, and other important scene details
- Get a copy of the police report
- Gather contact information for all witnesses
- Document the time and location of the accident
6. Seek medical attention
Always go see a doctor after a car accident, even if you feel fine. This is important for two reasons. The first is that many common car accident injuries don’t present right away, so you might feel fine at first and then a few hours later be in serious condition. Second, having thorough documentation of any and all accident-related medical care can greatly help in an insurance claim or car accident lawsuit down the line.
7. Call a lawyer
You have rights as a car accident victim, including the right to adequate compensation for your accident-related injuries and losses. Retaining a car accident lawyer can go a long way toward protecting your rights and making sure you get the compensation you deserve. From gathering and analyzing evidence and filing insurance claims to representing you in negotiations or in court, a lawyer will fight on your behalf and help guide you every step of the way.
Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman car accident attorneys serve New York and New Jersey with expert legal services after an auto collision. If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident because of someone else’s negligence, you may have a case for compensation.
As both New York and New Jersey have legal time limits on when victims can file lawsuits, it is vital that you call Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman today to schedule a confidential consultation.