If you have been in a car accident, there are some things you should do. There are a lot of auto accidents in the United States every year. The summer is the most dangerous time to be on American roads, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA says that the combination of more cars being on the roads with more drivers venturing out under the influence of alcohol means that there are just about double the number of fatalities on the roads than all of the other seasons combined. Auto accident lawyers recommend people who have been in motor vehicle accidents do if they have been in a crash.
- Stay at the scene. Of course, if you have been injures seriously enough to require being taken to the hospital in an ambulance, you need to leave the scene. Otherwise, you will be breaking the law by leaving. If you caused the accident, you can be charged with a hit and run, say auto accident attorneys. If you have been in such an accident, you need to stick around until you have worked everything out. If you were the victim, you should make a point to get contact information from any witnesses and take pictures and video of the scene.
- Call law enforcement. If you were not the person who caused the accident, your auto accident lawyer will be able to use the police report to help your case. The records taken down by the police who respond to the accident can be instrumental in proving your side of the story. Even if the accident seems minor at the time, you need to contact the authorities. If you have no official record of the accident that was put together by the police, the insurance company may be able to weasel their way out of paying everything they should. You will need the proof of the accident.
- Make sure you get medical treatment for your injuries. It is easy to discount your injuries when they seem minor. The problem is that you may have more extensive injuries than you initially think. When you are in a car accident, you may be dazed. This is a scary experience and some people go into shock even after what may be a small or minor accident. You need to go to the doctor to get treatment because the medical professionals can help you more if you get treatment sooner than later. Another reason is that if the courts need to get involved and you did not seek out medical treatment, it can look bad for you as the judge may assume you wanted to make your injuries look worse than they are to get more money. Your auto accident lawyer can also use the records from your medical treatment to help bolster your case.
- Do not tell the other driver you are “sorry.” You are most likely not thinking as clearly as you normally do when you have just been in a car accident. Any apology can be used against you later. Do not admit anything. Think about the Miranda warning that is given when people are arrested. “Anything you can can and will be used against you,” the same can be said for what you say after a car accident. Wait until you talk to a car accident attorney or a personal injury lawyer to say anything to anyone. Never admit anything at the scene of the accident. You probably mean well but it will hurt you later on.
- Hold off on calling your insurance carrier. You will have to deal with them but you should not do it right after you have been in a car accident. If you hire a personal injury attorney or an auto accident lawyer, you may want to let them deal with your insurance carrier. The reason you do not want to call them right away is that you may not be in the best state of mind. Your insurance company is going to try to pay out as little as it can possibly get away with paying and can use the things you say to them against you.