It is estimated that the average driver will be involved in a car accident once every 18 years. Many, however, are unaware of what they should do in the event of a collision. It is extremely important that you are informed of the proper actions to take following a crash in order to limit your liability and strengthen your chance of securing a fair settlement. Following the initial shock of a collision, staying calm and remembering these five steps can help you stay in control of the situation.
Step 1: Stop & Render Aid
Possibly the most important thing you should do after a collision is to remain at the scene of the crash and help anyone that has been involved. Check yourself, anyone in your car, and any occupants of the other vehicles in the collision. If anyone appears to be hurt, call for an ambulance immediately. Do not attempt to move anyone that is seriously injured, as this can potentially worsen their condition. Stay with them until help arrives.
It is imperative that you remain at the scene until it is deemed appropriate to leave. Fleeing an accident without stopping to render aid and exchange information can be charged as a “hit and run” accident, which is a punishable offense that can carry harsh legal consequences. While many may attempt to flee in order to avoid being caught driving with a suspended license or some other violation, leaving the scene will only serve to worsen their situation.
Step 2: Call the Police
Once you have called for an ambulance if needed, your next priority is to call the police. Law enforcement can help stabilize the situation, move your vehicles to a safe location, direct traffic, and create a police report of the incident. Obtianing a copy of this document can provide vital evidence when attempting to prove fault later on.
The officer’s report will likely contain:
- The facts of the incident
- The officer’s observations
- An assessment of the damage
- Indications of fault
- Information of any arrests
Step 3: Exchange Information
After the police have arrived and gotten a handle on the situation, you need to exchange information with any other drivers involved.
Obtain the following information:
- Phone numbers
- License plates
- Driver’s license numbers
- Insurance information
It is imperative that you do not say anything during this stage! Saying things like “I’m sorry,” or “I didn’t see you” can be used against you as an admission of fault, holding you liable for the damage before an investigation even takes place. Do not discuss the accident with anyone except the police or one of our firm’s experienced car accident attorneys. Be polite, exchange the relevant information, but say nothing that can incriminate you.
Step 4: Photograph All Damage
If you can, get pictures of any damage that the accident caused. These photographs can help you later on when determining fault, as they can be used to recreate the accident. The more detailed these pictures are, the better.
Take pictures of the following:
- Damage to your vehicle
- Damage to the other vehicle(s)
- Skid marks
- Property damage
- Your injuries
Step 5: Contact Harrelson Law Firm
Retaining strong legal representation is vital to maximizing your chances of securing a fair settlement for your injuries and damage received from your crash. At Harrelson Law Firm, our Little Rock car accident attorneys have earned an AV® Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell® for their skill and dedication, and we are eager to stand by your side and advocate for your rights. We can negotiate with your insurance company so you don’t have to, giving you peace of mind and the confidence to move forward knowing that your case is in good hands. To get started towards retaining the top-rated personal injury advocacy, dial (501) 819-3091 or contact our firm online today!