Car crashes can be frightening. It’s hard to know who to call, what information you need, what evidence is needed, or how to care for the injured. Certainly, nobody wants to get into an accident – but it helps to have a plan in case a crash does occur. Almost everyone will have an accident in their lifetime.
The best plan is to contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. The attorney will explain your rights and guide you through each stage of the claims and litigation process. A second plan is to make sure you have your cellphone with you. The phone should be charged and should have access to the Internet. With your smartphone, you can review our blog for general suggestions.
Key things to consider and be ready for if an accident happens
- Stay at the accident scene. If you drive away from the accident site and anyone is injured, you can be cited for a hit and run offense. If someone is hurt (either a passenger or the occupant of another car), that person needs medical help. You should either call the police or a local hospital or doctor’s office and ask for assistance. You can reach the police by dialing 911. If you leave the accident site, even if it is not a hit and run case, your flight may used against you. Jurors and insurance companies may believe you wouldn’t have left the scene if you didn’t cause the accident. You should get to where it’s safe. For starters, this means getting off the center of the road and off to the sidewalk or another safe place. Make sure the engine is turned off. Turn on the hazard lights.
- Determine if anyone was hurt. Nobody expects you to b a doctor. But most people understand the signs of being hurt. Victims may bleed. They may faint. If they can talk, they will tell you themselves that they are in pain. Normally, the police or a hospital will arrange for an ambulance or a first-aid service to come to the accident site and render assistance. Most victims are taken to a local emergency room for treatment. If you suspect that you yourself were hurt in any way, you should arrange to go to the local emergency room. Early treatment can help your recovery process. If you delay getting medical attention, the insurance company may claim you weren’t seriously injured. You should also follow up with your family doctor as soon as you can.
- Exchange relevant information. It’s generally a good policy to exchange basic information. It may even be a requirement of law. Your lawyer can tell you what information you must disclose. Typically, drivers should exchange:
- Their name
- Their insurance information
- The make, model, and year of the cars
- Their driver’s license numbers
When you speak with your lawyer, he can explain what information is not required to be exchanged. Generally, drivers shouldn’t discuss how the accident happened. NEVER admit any fault, or say you are “sorry,” even it sounds nice. That will be determined later. As a general rule, it’s not necessary to give your address and phone number, unless asked for by the police.
- Take pictures. Another good reason for having a charged cellphone is so that you can take photographs. You should take pictures of the following:
- The damage to the cars – make sure to take pictures of all the vehicles
- The traffic site – this includes any traffic signals and the lanes of traffic. Pictures should note street names, any obstructions, and anything unusual about the location
- The witnesses, drivers, and passengers – if they don’t object. Don’t be afraid to show the cuts, bruises, and injuries – while being respectful.
- Any skid marks or debris.
- Evidence of intoxication of defendant drivers-especially if they are stumbling or slurring their speech-video them!
- Talk with a trusted North Carolina or Virginia car accident lawyer. The lawyer will help calm you down. The lawyer will explain any legal answers and questions. He’ll also review all practical steps you need to take to put your case in the best possible light.
- Cooperate with the police. Standard police procedure is to:
- Determine if anyone is injured and help them get medical care
- Get the relevant information such as driver’s license and registration information
- Clear the accident site so that nobody else runs the risk of getting hurt
- Speak with any witnesses
- Prepare a police report which your lawyer will review so that he knows how to start the litigation process and who is at fault
- Call your own insurance company. You should let your own insurance company know about the accident. They may want to send someone to the accident site. They will almost certainly want to inspect the damage to your vehicle when they get the chance. Your insurance company will help arrange a tow for your car to a local repair shop.
There are other precautions and plans drivers should consider. The car should be stocked with different items to handle different situations. A car should include:
- Some way to keep warm if the car heater doesn’t work
- Some non-perishable food
When you get home, you should note the time and date of the accident and what the weather conditions were. Try to remember how fast each car was going and which directions they were going.
Proper planning helps determine who caused the accident. Planning helps verify your damages which include:
- All reasonable medical bills including hospital surgeries, doctor visits, physical therapy, rehabilitation costs, medical equipment, and medications.
- Your daily physical pain and emotional suffering
- Payment for any scarring or disfigurement
- Lost income and the inability to work
- Property damage
- Other relevant damages
Talk to a respected North Carolina or Virginia car crash lawyer as soon as the accident happens
Attorney Joe Miller Esq. has been fighting for the injured for more than 30 years. He’s helped thousands of people get justice in both Virginia and North Carolina He’ll fight to get you the damage award you deserve through a strong settlement or a jury verdict. For hep now, please phone (888) 694-1671 or complete the contact form.