What to Do After Being Involved in a Car Accident?
No one ever expects to be involved in a car accident; however, they can happen any day, any time, at any location. To illustrate the prevalence of this issue, in 2015, there were over 6 million police-reported traffic crashes across the United States, according to data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Nearly 200,000 auto accidents occur in Tennessee each year, with cities like Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga topping the list. Many crashes lead to serious injuries or even death.What to Do After Being Involved in a Car Accident
Anyone who operates or rides in a motor vehicle should be prepared with knowledge of what to do in the event of a collision with another car, structure, or fixed object. Of course, health should be a person’s top priority. However, there are additional steps that can be taken at the scene of the crash and added to your checklist.
- Stop as soon as possible – After the accident, it is important to stop immediately as close to the scene of the accident as possible. In fact, in most states it is illegal to leave the scene of the accident, and those who are caught could be cited for hit and run. If your vehicle is in a position that could put you or someone else in harm’s way, pull your vehicle over to the side of the road so that no further accidents occur.
- Check yourself for injuries and then check your passengers – Immediately once your car comes to a rest, you may not feel any pain due to the adrenaline running through your body. However, it is very important to assess yourself before taking any further action. Many auto accident victims require immediate medical treatment to address common injuries such as neck and back pain, broken bones, headaches, and more.
- Exchange information with the other driver – When police are dispatched to the scene, officers can speak with the parties, take witness statements, assess the physical damage, and issue citations for conduct like drunk driving, disregarding a stop sign, or speeding. Although all of this information should be contained within the official crash report, it is essential that you gather as much information as possible from the other driver, including:
- Phone number
- Insurance company and policy number
- Year, make, and model of the vehicle
- Tag number
- Driver’s license number
- Take pictures – In order to protect yourself, it is recommended that you take pictures of the damage to both vehicles. You may also document the scene of the crash, the parties involved, and their information. Scene pictures and video could be useful later on when determining who was at fault and how the impact caused the injuries you sustained.
- Talk to the investigating officers – Tell them exactly what happened. Also, make sure you get their name, badge number, and police report number. The more information the officers have, the more detailed and accurate their police report will be. You can also ask them how to obtain the police report and how soon it will be ready. Our car accident lawyers seek to promptly obtain police reports on behalf of clients in an effort to investigate the accident in a timely manner.
- Protect your legal rights – To ensure that your legal rights are protected, it is best to consult with a car accident attorney soon after your accident. An attorney will be able to help preserve evidence, identify all possible defendants, and uncover all avenues of potential compensation for your damages, which may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Motor vehicle accident cases are often complex and may require experts in several fields for your claim to be successful. A personal injury attorney will be able to identify the need for an expert to maximize the value of your case. Most car wreck attorneys, including ours, work on a contingency fee basis, so they will not get paid unless you recover compensation.
Need legal help following a crash? Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz is a large regional law firm that has represented the rights of automobile accident victims for more than 25 years. Our lawyers take pride in providing compassionate representation while guiding clients through the legal process. For a free consultation with an attorney, call us at 800-529-4004 or complete our online form. We represent people injured throughout Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Kentucky, including in and around Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Jackson, Meridian, Tupelo, Columbus, Grenada, Starkville, Oxford, Cape Girardeau, Hayti, Caruthersville, and surrounding areas. Let us show you why NST is the way to go.