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Did you know there are simple steps you can take immediately following an accident that will ensure you are best protected if you find yourself in such a situation?
– Make sure that you and your passengers are ok. This is the single most important step that you can take. Communication is key. If anyone is injured (or in shock), you should call 911 immediately for medical assistance.
– Activate your hazard lights and, if possible, move your vehicle to a safe location. Often following an accident your vehicle is left vulnerable. It is dangerous to be stopped in the middle of a roadway with vehicles moving around you. You are at risk for further damage from another unsuspecting vehicle. I have represented many people injured in “double car accidents.” If you are able to do so, you should move your vehicle to a shoulder or parking lot.
– If you have not already done so, call the police for assistance. This should be done in every situation. Do not be tempted to forgo calling the police even if the other driver objects or offers to pay for the damage to your vehicle. It is important to document the accident with the police as soon as possible. Make sure that you get a field report from the police officer before leaving the scene of the accident. People tend to change their stories after the fact. It is good to get it straight right from the beginning.
– If possible, gather the names of any eyewitnesses. Don’t rely on the police to do this. While the police often do get the names of the witnesses, I have certainly seen situations where the police have failed to do so. Once the witness leaves the seen without giving their information they are usually lost forever.
– It is also a good idea to take photographs of the damage to the vehicles and the scene of the accident. Documenting these things can often corroborate your version of the events should a dispute arise.
A Final Word –
Following a motor vehicle accident, many people with minor injuries often refuse medical assistance. This is never a good idea. Injuries tend to get worse as time passes and the initial shock of the accident wears off. Get checked out by a healthcare professional, even if you think that it’s, “Just sore.” It’s better to be safe than sorry.