I Was In An Automobile Accident – What Should I Do?

Published February 1, 2012 | By admin

As discussed in an earlier blog, when you are injured in an automobile accident, you should secure the advice of legal counsel as soon as practical. In the meantime, there are certain steps you should also follow to protect your interests.

  • Unless your vehicle is absolutely creating a traffic hazard, do not move your car until the police arrive. If you are not the one injured, make the injured person as comfortable as possible without moving him or her in a way that could cause additional harm. In any event, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • Ask for the other driver's name, address, driver's license number, the name of their insurance company and policy number. Write down the license plate number of the other vehicle. Also, be ready to give this same information to the other driver. Likewise, obtain the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses. Notify the police and obtain the investigating officer's name and ask for a case number to obtain a copy of the accident investigation report.
  • In this day and age of smart phones, it is generally very easy to obtain photographs of the accident scene. If you do not have a phone capable of taking such photographs, you should keep a cheap disposable camera in your glove compartment, or elsewhere in the vehicle for such a purpose.
  • Seek immediate medical attention for any pain, discomfort or other symptoms no matter how minor. You may be seriously injured without realizing it at the time. Any delay in seeking medical attention may be important.
  • Make notes as to how the collision occurred. You may have to recount specifics in testimony to prove your claim several months or even years later. Details are soon forgotten. Try to be precise. For example, noting exactly how fast you were going immediately before impact is better than simply saying "I was not speeding." Utterances and conversations immediately after impact while at the scene may be extremely important.

Report the accident to your own insurance company as soon as you can. If you have been injured, be sure to ask for a Personal Injury Protection application. If contacted by the insurance company for the other driver, be aware that your telephone conversation will most likely be recorded. Generally, you should only give statements to the police, your own attorney and your own insurance representative. Do not let anyone rush you into a quick settlement. Consult an attorney to determine your rights and protect your interest.