When you ask people what they should do after an accident, you will usually get the cliche answer that involves calling an attorney. In the wake of an automobile or any other kind of accident, there are several steps you should take to make sure that your side of the story is told properly. The bulk of the most important steps a person should take after an accident come long before they contact a lawyer.
Check Your Medical Status
No matter what happens in the wake of an accident, you should always get yourself checked out by a medical professional immediately. But it is what you do right after the accident occurs that will determine the course of your recover and your future ability to collect a settlement.
If you feel at all out of the ordinary after an accident, then do not move until help arrives. When you are in an accident, your adrenaline is pumping and your body can mask injuries that you cannot immediately feel. Slowly gather your senses and make sure that you can move your arms and legs without discomfort. If anything feels unusual, then remain where you are until help arrives.
If you are able to move after your accident, then you need to start taking pictures of the accident scene immediately. That tree that covered the stop sign you drove through may not be there in the morning, and you will need evidence that the sign was obscured for your attorney.
You need to take pictures of the layout of the scene, the vehicles or other pieces of equipment involved, and the people involved. If the other party claims in court that the accident has caused them to be confined in a wheelchair but you have pictures of them running around the scene after the accident happened, then that could help you get the settlement you deserve.
In most accidents, the police will arrive to take a report from both parties, but police accident reports in many parts of the country are not what they used to be. Many police jurisdictions simply take down the insurance information of both parties to make an information swap easier. You need to write down street names, events, and anything else you can remember to help your case.
You should also ask witnesses if they would be willing to give a statement about what they saw. While it is rare to get help from people who saw what happened, you still need to try and collect contact information from witnesses who saw the accident occur.
Talk to No One
If the police are facilitating the insurance and contact information swap between you and the other driver, then there is no reason for you to talk to the other driver at all. Your responsibility is to talk to the police and give them all of the information they need to make their report. You should not talk to anyone else at the scene, and you should not talk to any insurance investigators that call afterwards. Those types of calls are what you leave to your attorney.
The aftermath of an accident can seem like complete chaos, but you need to keep your composure and get all of the information your attorney will need to make your case.