What to Do After You Have Been in a Motor Vehicle Accident
When you have been hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, the impact on every aspect of your life can be daunting. You may be uncertain what you need to do to best protect your interests. Here are some of the most important things to remember:
- Protect your health — Often, the best thing to do regarding your health is wait until emergency medical professionals arrive on the scene. You may think you are fine to move under your own power, but can be in shock, or can have injuries that may not immediately be apparent. You should call 911 immediately, and let police and medical personnel take charge at the scene. If you leave the scene under your own power, you should immediately travel to the hospital or a clinic, or should schedule an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible. When you seek medical treatment, be sure to tell doctors and nurses about anything that seems out of the ordinary. Don’t limit your discussion to the obvious injuries you have suffered.
- Stay calm — Turn off your vehicle and turn on any emergency lights. It is preferable to leave your vehicle exactly where it stopped, as that makes investigation of the accident easier.
- Gather all necessary information from other drivers and witnesses — Get name, address, phone number and insurance information from anyone involved in the accident, as well as all witnesses. Do not rely on police officers to gather this information for you.
- Take pictures of the scene, of any damage to your car, and of any visible injuries you have suffered — If your cell phone has a camera, use it. These pictures can be critical if your case goes to trial
- Notify your insurance company — Contact your insurance provider in a timely manner and tell them you have been in an accident. If you have insurance information from other drivers, you can provide that to your insurer.
- Call an experienced lawyer — Before you enter into any agreement with any insurance company, you should consult an attorney. Insurers have a vested interest in paying you as little as possible.