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IF I’M INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT, WHAT SHOULD I DO AT THE SCENE?
The most important thing you can do at the scene of an accident in which you are involved is stay calm and collect yourself. Do not allow your anger or fear to get the best of you. Your job at this point is to make sure you’re able to keep it together. Take a moment to yourself before you act. The first thing you want to do is check on the passengers in your car and the other car, and then you’ll call the police. They will tell you what to do while you wait for them to arrive. Don’t be shocked if the operator you speak with wants you to move your vehicles from the center of the road to the side if the accident is nothing but a fender bender. Before you do that, however, make sure you snap a few photos of the scene to use later if the at-fault driver wants to pretend the accident is not their fault.
Collect Your Information
Once you do what the operator tells you, you’ll collect your belongings. You’re going to want to get your license and your insurance information from the vehicle and you’re going to prepare to share it with the police. This is crucial. The other driver will do the same. You can share this information with one another while you wait for the police to arrive on the scene. During this time, you’ll want to say nothing at all about the accident that could cause you to look guilty. This could be an apology. It’s something people do without even realizing they do it. Saying anything that sounds at all like an apology could end up costing you an insurance settlement if the other driver says you said anything that sound like an admission of guilt.
You’ll provide your statement to the police when they arrive. You’ll tell them what you know happened, not what you think happened. They’ll write up a report after checking out the scene. It’s usually pretty obvious what happened in an accident based on the condition of each vehicle, but witnesses can also provide a statement telling the police what they saw.
The next thing you’ll do is arrange for transportation for your vehicle to a repair shop or even your home. Then you’ll call your insurance agency to report the accident and find out what happens next. If you’re in a no-fault state, your insurance handles this. If your state hasn’t a no-fault policy, you’ll allow your insurance company to tell you what to do. They might allow you to pay your deductible and handle the case for you so they can seek the compensation from the other insurance company, or they might tell you to call the other insurance company.
You don’t have to seek medical help on the scene of the accident, but you do want to get checked out that day or the next at latest by your own doctor. You could have injuries you’re unaware of, and they could cause more damage if they’re left untreated in the coming days. Additionally, if you plan on filing a lawsuit against the other driver, it’s in your best interest to have medical reports from as soon after the accident as possible.
The entire process is confusing, which is why so many accident victims prefer to contact a personal injury attorney to assist them. The job of a personal injury attorney is to inform you of your rights, handle your case, and speak to insurance companies and other parties to this case on your behalf. If you feel you need a personal injury attorney, don’t wait to call.
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