Getting into a car accident can be among the most traumatic experiences a person has to go through. A collision with another vehicle causes an immediate state change. Your heart rate accelerates, and your mind begins racing in numerous directions as you try to figure out what all this means.
The first thing you need to do is to take a deep breath, calm down, and assess the situation. The steps you take immediately after a car accident will greatly impact your health and well-being, the well-being of others who were involved, and your legal right to recover compensation (if you suffered any injuries from the accident).
There are several things you should do right after an auto accident, here are five of the most important:
The first priority after a car accident is to secure the scene and make sure everyone is safe. If anyone appears to be injured (including yourself), call 911 right away to summon an ambulance to the scene. It is important to note that not all injuries are apparent right away. Even some injuries that are serious and life threatening may not be immediately detected. One common example is internal bleeding. If there is any possibility that someone was hurt, get prompt medical help. It is better to be safe than sorry.
When you call 911, they will most likely call the police for you as well. This is another essential step, because the police need to be called if anyone was injured. The police will make sure the vehicles are moved to the side of the road and out of danger, and they will speak with witnesses and compile an official report describing what happened. The police report is most often used as the basis for determining who was responsible for the accident.
Obtain Extensive Documentation
The police will produce an accident report, but you should have your own report as well. If you are able, take detailed notes describing the accident while everything is fresh in your mind. You should also take as many photos as possible from various angles to provide visual evidence showing how the collision happened. If you do not have anything to write with, use the voice recorder on your smartphone to create an audio report that you can transcribe later on.
Exchange Information with Other Parties Involved
One of the least pleasant but necessary steps after a car accident is to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s). When you do this, be calm, courteous, and polite. Give them all of the required information and obtain the information you need from them as well. During this exchange, it is extremely important that you do not apologize or admit fault in any way. Just stick to the facts and let the experts sort out who was responsible.
Secure Statements and Contact Information from Witnesses
If there are any individuals who saw the accident, be sure to get statements and contact information from them. Eyewitness testimony is a very important factor that can help substantiate the facts and evidence in a car accident case, so try to secure this information while the witnesses are at the scene. Memories tend to fade over time, and as people go forward with their lives, they may not be as motivated to help you with your case.
Many times, a witness will be willing to provide a video or audio statement, which you can record using the video camera or voice recorder on your smartphone. Take advantage of this option if it is available, but at the very least, try to write down what they say and obtain their contact information for later follow-up.
Get in Touch with an Experienced Connecticut Personal Injury Lawyer
Those who are involved in a car accident are required to file a claim with the insurance company. When this happens, you will most likely be contacted by an insurance adjuster or another company official within a short period of time. Before speaking with the adjuster or anyone else from the insurance company about the accident, it is absolutely critical that you speak with a skilled auto accident lawyer, so you fully understand your legal rights and options.
It is important to understand that the primary motivation of the insurance company is to pay out as little as possible for your accident. As such, their interests are not aligned with yours. When you have been injured in an auto accident, you need a skilled advocate in your corner who is looking out for your best interests and who is willing to fight for every dollar of compensation you deserve.
Contact our office today at (860) 900-0900 or through our website contact form.