In the chaos after a car accident, it can be challenging to focus, take photos of the scene and collect information— all things that can help build a stronger personal injury case down the road. That’s why it’s a good idea to know ahead of time what to do (and what to avoid) if you’re ever involved in a crash.
Check for injuries
If you’ve been hurt, call 911 or ask someone to help you. If you’re severely hurt, wait for first responders to remove you from your vehicle.
Check on others
If you’re able to, check to see if your passengers or others involved in the crash need emergency help. Again, call 911 if you haven’t already, or ask someone to call for you.
Make sure you’re somewhere safe
If your car can still drive and you’re in a high-risk location, attempt to move it to the side of the road or to the shoulder. If you can safely exit the car, move away from the road. Never stand between vehicles; an approaching car could rear-end the back vehicle, pinning you in the process. Be sure to turn off your engine, turn on your hazards and set out emergency flares or triangles.
Ensure emergency responders are on the way
Even if no one is visibly injured, call 911 if you haven’t done so already. You’ll need the police to create an accident report at the scene.
Consider calling a friend or family member for help
Even if you’re not in need of urgent medical care, the shock of a car crash may make the following steps a challenge. If you’re able to, call an emergency contact to come help you safely and efficiently collect the information you need.
Talk to the other driver
Be sure to request the other driver’s name, address, telephone number and license number. You’ll need the name of the insurance carrier and the policy number. You’ll also want to note the make and model of the car and its plate number. When exchanging your own information, you may wish to avoid allowing the other driver to photograph your license due to identity theft risks. If the other driver is aggressive, don’t engage or escalate the situation. Instead, wait for law enforcement to assist you.
Photograph the scene
Even if the accident seems straightforward, photos can help reconstruct the scene if the other driver denies fault or the insurance company puts up a fight. Document damage to your car and the other vehicle involved. Photograph the general accident scene, being sure to gather a 360-degree picture by taking photos at each point on a clock face. If there were any factors that may have contributed to the crash, like a traffic light that was out or a major pothole, document it now before repairs are made.
Talk to witnesses
If there were witnesses to the accident, be sure to collect their names, addresses, phone numbers and statements before they go. You’ll also want to note the names and badge numbers of any responding officers. The officer on the scene should be able to tell you where you can get a copy of the accident report.
See a doctor
Even if you didn’t require emergency care, it’s important to still see a doctor after an accident if you were at all injured. Be sure to attend any follow-up appointments and specialist visits, keeping a record of your care.
Make sure your case is a priority
After a crash, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may be slow to contact you or may offer a quick, low-ball settlement offer. In some cases, they’ll even attempt to deny fault. An Atlanta personal injury attorney can help ensure your case is treated fairly, allowing you to move on with your life.
Atlanta Car Wreck Attorneys
If you’ve been involved in a crash, it’s important to document the scene and speak with an Atlanta car wreck attorney. For a free consultation, contact the personal injury attorneys at Litner + Deganian today.