Car accident lawyers stay busy due to the high number of automobile accidents every year. Every year, in the United States, over six million car accidents occur. Fortunately, the majority of those accidents only involve property damage – damage done to the vehicle as opposed to the driver and/or occupants. However, one in three accidents does involve personal injury to the driver and/or the occupants. Out of the accidents that involve personal injury, two out of every ten will lead to fatal injuries.
If you are ever in any type of automobile accident, you need to take certain steps in order to safeguard yourself, not to mention your potential case – given you were injured in the accident. Following the checklist below will greatly assist your car accident lawyer in putting together a potentially winning case.
Steps to Take If You Are Involved in an Automobile Accident
Should you ever find yourself involved in an automobile accident in which you are injured, it is important to take the following steps in an effort to assist your car accident lawyer in providing you the best representation possible.
- Stop. After the accident, you should never flee the scene, even if the accident is minor and involves no injuries. Doing so will make your case, prepared by your car accident lawyer, a potentially impossible win.
- Protect. Always put forth an effort to protect the scene and to prevent further accidents, if possible. You can prevent other accidents from happening by turning on and leaving on your flashers or even setting up road flares.
- Call 911. Regardless of whether or not you have sustained serious injuries, it is still a good idea to call the police after the accident. You will need to file a police report in order to file an insurance claim for the damage done to your vehicle. You should also call a car accident lawyer, who will advise you to leave your vehicle where it lies, as opposed to moving it.
- Make records of everything. Make it a point to take an adequate record of everything that occurs at the scene. You can start by giving an accurate depiction of the accident to the authorities and/or your car accident lawyer. Tell them precisely what occurred, as best as you can. Never just guess or misrepresent any facts as they pertain to the accident. When the police or your car accident lawyer asks if you got any injuries, if you are uncertain, be honest – tell them you are unsure.
- Take photos. If you by chance happen to have a camera handy it is a good idea to collect as many photos as possible, without tampering with evidence. Photograph any visible injuries and damage to your property, as well as the other party’s. If you aren’t able to get pictures at the scene without interfering with the police investigation, then make it a point to do so as soon as possible after the accident. This will likely serve as pertinent evidence to your car accident lawyer.
- Exchange information. You should take care to obtain information from the other party that was part of the accident, as well as any witnesses. This includes name, address, and phone numbers. Also, make it a point to obtain information about the other party’s insurance. It is important that you do not neglect to obtain information from potential witnesses, as they will need to be later contacted by your car accident lawyer, at which point they may prove valuable. Make sure that you have the officer give you the police report number so that you may provide it to your car accident lawyer if necessary.
- Report the accident. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible following the accident. Most insurance companies require coverage, immediate reporting, and your full cooperation. You should make it a point to find out if your insurance includes medical benefits. Since you pay extra for this coverage, if you have it, you should take advantage of it. Medpay or medical benefits through your auto insurer primarily exist in case you are ever injured in an automobile accident. Your Medpay benefits will cover any and all occupants of the vehicle and your insurance rates should not increase due to a Medpay claim.
- Seek medical treatment. More often than not, the injuries that accompany a motor vehicle accident will not be immediately apparent. Most victims agree that the worst pain and injuries generally show up one to two days after the incident. That being said, you should always seek medical attention following an automobile accident. Your car accident lawyer will inform you that even seemingly minor accidents involving little impact can still result in serious, even permanent, injury to the spinal cord. Additionally, concussions and closed head injuries are also common of minor accidents. Injuries of this nature can lead to behavioral and cognitive changes of which your car accident lawyer will fight tirelessly to get you compensation for.
- Keep a file of the incident. Keep all of the information pertaining to your accident in a safe place, organized for your car accident lawyer. The file for your car accident lawyer, should you need one, should include police report number, phone numbers, insurance information, receipt, medical bills, name, and any other information pertaining to expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
- Protect yourself. Arguably the most important step that you can take after being involved in an automobile accident is to contact a car accident lawyer. Car accident lawyers can and will protect your rights, as well as make sure that any valuable evidence that pertains to the case is protected. It is not uncommon for the insurance company of the other party to want to take a statement immediately following the incident. It is imperative to the validity of your claims that you speak to an experienced car accident lawyer prior to providing such a statement.
Your car accident lawyer will advise you on further steps that you can take or issues that range from making sure that you receive the best medical treatment to making sure that you are fully compensated for the damage caused by the accident. Car accident lawyers work on some type of a contingency fee basis, meaning that you are not responsible for any fees unless your car accident lawyer recovers compensation in your favor.