When people are injured in a car or truck accident, the last thing they typically think about is how to behave and what to do. However, it's important to take care of a few key details after an accident, so try to be alert and contact a lawyer as quickly as possible to make sure you're handling the post-accident fallout properly.
What to Do When in a Car/Truck Accident
- What to do when I'm in a Car or Truck Wreck?
- Be safe and call the authorities.
If your car is in the middle of the Interstate or other busy road, try to move the vehicle out of traffic, if possible, both for your safety and for the safety of those around you. The next thing you need to do is contact the authorities.
If you're involved in a minor accident in a small city and happen to know your local authorities, simply call the police department and ask for a police officer to come to the scene. If you're involved in a major accident, are severely injured or just don't know who to call, dial 911 and speak with an operator to get the proper authorities and medical care.
In the event that you're not injured or have sustained only minor injuries and are capable of interacting with other people at the accident scene, get witness and driver information, such as names, phone numbers and addresses. Avoid exchanging any information with the parties other than contact info. Don't talk about who is liable or at fault, and don't offer any unnecessary information when you speak with the police.
Once you've contacted the authorities and gotten contact info, take pictures of the vehicles and accident scene, if possible. Everyone has a cell phone these days so get some photos of the damage and the accident scene. These photos will help to prove damage to your vehicle, and photos of the scene can help to establish how the accident occurred.
- Complete an accident report
Depending on the police department and the extent of the accident, you may be asked to complete an accident report later or the police officer may complete one using details obtained at the accident scene. Ask the police officer how to get a copy of your accident report. Most police departments have information they can give you on how to obtain your accident report, and a good car wreck attorney will also be able to get a copy of this report if you are unable to obtain it.
- Don't wait to get medical care.
If you're injured in an accident, don't brush the injury off as minor and wait to get medical care. Minor injuries may turn out to be more severe than you anticipated, and major injuries require immediate medical assistance. If you wait too long after an auto accident to seek medical treatment, the other party’s insurance company may claim that your injury isn't severe or isn't related to the accident.
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
To ensure you get all the right details in handling your accident case, contact a personal injury attorney as quickly as possible after your accident. A personal injury attorney can help you communicate with the insurance companies, get a copy of the accident report if you haven't already, and begin an investigation to determine who was at fault and gather all the necessary facts.
If you are unable to consult an attorney before you notify the insurance company, be careful about the information you provide. Don't discuss fault and relate only the facts; that you were involved in an accident that occurred at X time at X location and will be in touch with the insurance company with further information. The insurance company may mail you paperwork to complete, which you should forward to your personal injury attorney.