Getting in an accident is a traumatic and stressful event, follow these 5 steps to keep your cool and to stay safe in a dangerous situation.
It does not matter if the accident involves another car, moving or parked; a pedestrian, or someone's property, it is the law that you must stop and alert the authorities. If you drive away, you can be charged with hit and run, even if the accident was not your fault.
It is also important to stop to see if anyone is injured, yourself included. If you are injured, make sure to call the police and notify them that you need an ambulance. You may also need to take another person to the hospital, if so - this trip is most likely covered by your auto insurance.
2. Call for help!
Make sure you call the police and that a report is written up. When you call, give the exact location and what happened so that they can arrive as fast as possible. If you need an ambulance or the fire department, let the police know on the phone. If you need additional help, try to flag down a passing car and ask the driver to go for help.
3. Gather this information!
You will need to gather as much information as possible for the police report and insurance claim. In addition to the information below, you should also draw out a quick diagram of the accident such as the position of the cars before, during, and after the accident. You should also include crosswalks and road signs, this will be important information for the police, the insurance company and for your personal injury lawyer. The following is the information you should try to gather while at the scene of the accident:
4. If you think it is your fault, never say so!
You should not give up any information on whose fault you believe the accident was because you cannot be sure unless you are fluent in the law. Talk to a lawyer first. However, you should cooperate with the officer writing the report but stick to the facts. If you were driving 30 miles and hour, say that exactly, do not say "I was not speeding". Anything you say can be used against you later.
5. Contact an attorney!
Are you injured? You could have a case. Find out how much your case
is worth with a free case review. It is imperative that you report the accident to your insurance company but do not volunteer information to the insurance company until you have spoken to a lawyer. Insurance companies have reps trained to try to get you to admit guilt. Your attorney will open all of the claims for you and will represent you in the process, including talking to your insurance company.