Car accidents are one of the most sudden and shocking events in a person’s life. Even a relatively minor accident can leave you feeling shaken and uneasy for the rest of the day. Serious accidents can mean major injuries, catastrophic damage, and permanent changes in quality of life.
If you’ve been in an accident, it can be extremely difficult to keep track of what you should and shouldn’t do. In the heat of the moment, you may feel the urge to drive off, or do any number of things you shouldn’t do. That’s why we’ve put together this list of frequently asked questions about what you ought to do in the aftermath of an accident.
If you’ve suffered from an accident due to another driver’s negligence, contact us for a free consultation. We’ll let you know if you have a case.
What’s the first thing to do after an accident?
The very first thing you need to do after an accident is get your car out of the way of traffic, if possible. Check everyone in the vehicle to see if there have been any injuries. Call the police and remain on the scene so they can file a report.
Do not leave the scene of the accident before the police have the opportunity to prepare their report.
What information should I get from others on the scene?
You should get the other driver’s insurance and contact information before leaving the scene. This will help you keep in touch and report the accident to your own insurance company.
Get contact information from any witnesses on the scene, in case you need them later on to give a statement.
If possible, you should also take photographs of the scene of the accident. Be as thorough as possible, taking broad pictures of the accident as a whole and pictures of damage to the vehicles.
Is there anything I shouldn’t say after an accident?
Never say “I’m sorry” after an accident. Some drivers are in the habit of apologizing out of politeness, whether they mean to imply guilt or not.
But if the accident turns into a legal case, saying “I’m sorry” can be taken as an admission of negligence or taking responsibility for the accident. This will make winning any legal case much more difficult. Check on the other driver’s well-being, by all means, but don’t apologize.
I noticed signs of a minor injury after an accident. Should I get it checked out?
For medical and legal reasons, you should get any signs of an injury checked out as soon as you can. It’s important to get checked out by a doctor after an accident, because what seem like minor injuries could be symptoms of something more serious.
In addition, it’s important to have a medical record of any injuries you or anyone else in your vehicle sustains during an accident. The sooner you start that medical record, the better. Otherwise it may be hard to prove that the injuries were actually caused by the accident.
Won’t the insurance company offer me all I need?
The insurance company will try to get away with giving you as little as it possibly can. They will ask leading questions and try to intimidate you into accepting less than your case is worth. It’s important to speak to a professional before talking to the insurance company, because you need to be careful not to say the wrong thing. The insurance company will take any excuse to devalue your claim.
When should I contact an attorney?
As soon as possible. It’s important that you find out if you have a case as soon as the accident takes place. Talk to a trusted attorney before you talk to the insurance company, so you’ll know what to say and whether or not you have a legal case.
It’s important to get in touch with a lawyer you can trust. A good lawyer will help you understand your options and make informed decisions about where you want to go.
Chris J. Roy, Jr. APLC has been serving the people of Louisiana from its Alexandria office since 1989. We handle a variety of cases and look forward to addressing your legal needs. For almost three decades, Chris Roy and his firm have been defending and filing claims for individuals hurt in accidents, and we have the knowledge, experience and resources to help you. If you have questions or would like to set up a consultation, contact us online or call us at 318.487.9537.
Third generation attorney serving Central Louisiana for 30 years. Let our experience help you.