What to Do After You Have Had an Accident
Auto accidents are happening with more and more frequency. Our Maryland auto accident lawyers handle auto accident cases on a daily basis. We want everyone to be prepared in the event that you are involved in an auto accident. In this post we want to talk about what you should do immediately following an auto accident. Many of these items will not only help you at the scene of the accident but also later when you need to make a claim with the insurance company.
- Try to be calm. Take a few moments to gather yourself and what just happened.
- Check yourself and your passengers for any obvious injuries. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately.
- In the event that someone appears to be injured, call the police anyway. This should be done no matter how insignificant the accident may be. It is imperative that your accident be properly documented in the event that you become injured later. Some injuries could take weeks to develop. If your injuries develop over time, and you try to file a claim weeks after the accident, the insurance companies will question why you do not contact the authorities immediately after the accident.
- Exchange information with the other driver. Be certain to obtain contact information, name, insurance information, a description of the vehicle, and their license plate number. Everything you say to the other driver or the police can be used against you. Be extremely careful in what you say because it will be used against you. We recommend not talking any more than you have to until after you have spoken to your lawyer. Insurance companies will use anything they can to minimize or deny your claim.
- Take pictures. If you have a camera phone or better yet a digital camera in your car - take as many pictures as possible. Photos are very valuable for any auto accident claim.
- Check the area for witnesses. Write down their name and contact information as well. Witnesses can be very valuable if your case goes to trial.
- Get the police report number or a copy of the information exchange sheet provided by the police. You may also want to write down the officer's name and badge number and any other information that you can obtain.
- Note the time of day that the accident occurred, weather, and your observations of what happened in the few moments before the impact as soon as you are able after the accident. Take the best notes that you are able to take.
- Speak to a Maryland auto accident lawyer and your insurance company. Your insurance company needs to know about happening of the accident as soon possible. Your lawyer will advise you on how to best handle your situation from this point forward. If the other driver’s insurance company calls you - do not speak to them. Tell them to call your lawyer.
There are a few items you may want to keep in your vehicle. These items can help you accurately record information from the accident scene after the accident occurs. If you don’t have a smart phone, which most people do, consider keeping a disposable camera in your car to document the damage to both vehicles. This may be your only chance to take photos of the other person’s vehicle. Keep a pen and some paper in your car to take notes on what happened and all the information that you will need. A first aid kit could become helpful if someone had a minor injuries. Road flares could help prevent more additional collisions at the scene.