Getting into a car accident can be a jarring experience. Right after the accident, you may be confused or disoriented, not knowing what to do. However, your actions immediately after the accident could have ramifications, whether positive or otherwise. For example, contacting an auto accident lawyer in Fort Smith can immediately ensure that your case’s legal aspects are handled promptly. If you were the victim of hit-and-run or reckless driving, you’d need such a professional to handle your case. Filing a civil lawsuit will become challenging, never mind the chances of getting a settlement, if crucial evidence is lost from the accident scene.
As a general rule, do the following things in the aftermath of an accident:
- Check Yourself for Injuries
Health is everything. Before you think of why someone needs to be held responsible for what happened to you, ensure that you’re physically ok. Assuming you’re still conscious, check yourself for any broken limbs. Usually, if you notice sharp pain anywhere, it indicates possible injuries. Call for help immediately. If you feel your injuries are severe, stay still as you wait for medical emergency personnel.
- Check on Your Fellow Passengers
Sometimes you’re lucky enough to come out of the accident unscathed. Other car passengers may not be so lucky; please check on them to see if they’re injured. If you can, pull them out of the car. Of course, if you find they’ve sustained severe injuries, it’s best to call for help and not do anything reckless that might exacerbate their injuries.
- Getting to Safety
Getting to a safe place should be a priority for you and every other car occupant, as a severe car crash could result in severe damage to the car’s fuel line; it can be a deadly outcome if the fuel ignites and set the car ablaze. As soon as you check yourself and others and find no serious injuries, get as far away from the wrecked car as you can; This ensures that in the event of an explosion, you’ll all be safe.
- Call the Authorities
Sometimes, an accident is only a minor incident, like a fender-bender. Other times, it’s a severe crash that causes severe injuries and devastation. In both cases, you should call the police. Some jurisdictions make it a legal requirement for you to call the police and not do anything till they get there. If, for whatever reason, the police cannot come to the accident scene, go to the nearest precinct and file a report. Such a report will come in handy later when filing an insurance claim.
- Exchange Information
If it’s a fender-bender, exchange information with the other driver; This should include the basics like full names, contact, and insurance information.
Ideally, the police should arrive at the accident scene soon after to get the information of all those involved. As soon as the police compile the accident’s initial report, everyone involved should get a police report number. If this doesn’t happen, take it upon yourself to gather this crucial information; it shouldn’t be a cursory thing. Ask detailed questions about the driver’s insurance coverage and ask to see their insurance card if possible. Witnesses can be crucial later on, providing the kind of testimony that can swing a civil lawsuit in your favor. Endeavor to take down witness information. Your lawyer may need to get in touch with them in the future for follow-up.
For accidents on major highways, you may need to contact the state police for the report.
- Make an Accurate Record
With adrenalin coursing through your veins in the immediate aftermath of an accident, you may not have the presence of mind to speak coherently. However, this is crucial. Memory tends to fad; This is why you need to make an accurate statement to the police as soon as they arrive. When the police begin taking down your statement, endeavor to answer the questions to the best of your knowledge. It will help if you don’t speculate or fill in the blanks about any aspect of the accident. Only state what you believe to be true. For example, don’t say you thought the other driver was turning left if that wasn’t the case. Conjecture could prove costly later on should the case go to court.
Be careful about how you report your injuries. In many motor vehicle accidents, injuries do not become apparent until hours or days later. If asked about injuries and you’re unsure, state this fact as it is better than claiming you’re not injured. Once the police take down your statement, it becomes a matter of public record. If your injuries manifest later on after stating that you were uninjured, this could seriously jeopardize any chance you have of claiming compensation for the accident.
When the other parties give their statements, ensure that you’re paying attention to what they’re saying. You don’t want to leave the accident scene only to find out later that the other parties involved made false or contradicting claims. With no other facts or witnesses to refute their statements, you could find yourself in the tricky situation of having to corroborate your story even if you were the victim.
- Document the Scene
If you have a video camera or a cellphone with one, take as much video as you can. Focus on skid marks, the damage to your car, the distance from the curb, and anything else you believe will be critical to substantiate your claims. If possible, document the damage to the other party’s vehicle. This ensures that there is irrefutable video evidence later on.
All in all, you want a personal injury attorney to handle your case if you stand any chance of getting compensated; At Phil Votaw & Associates, we focus on fighting on behalf of the victims of car accidents. Contact our car accident lawyer in Fort Smith if you have any such accident cases!
Phil Votaw & Associates,
9 N. 9th Street Fort Smith Arkansas 72901,
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