TIPS FOR WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE BEEN INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT
Taking the following steps after a traffic accident can help ensure that you are doing everything you can to protect your legal rights.
- STOP. If you don’t stop, you can be charged with a felony “hit and run.”
- DO NOT VOLUNTEER TOO MUCH INFORMATION.
- CALL THE POLICE.
- SURVEY THE SCENE. See if the other people involved in the accident have been injured, and call an ambulance if necessary. Make sure to get treatment for and document your injuries.
- GATHER INFORMATION from all others involved in the accident. Record their names, addresses, phone numbers, drivers’ license numbers and vehicle registration information. Also, note the vehicle makes, models and years, license plate numbers and registration expiration. Make sure you obtain all of the insurance information for each involved motorist, including the name of the carrier, agent, policy number and phone number of the agent.
- LOOK FOR WITNESSES and gather information from bystanders who may have seen the accident.
- TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS of the vehicles involved in the collision. Document property damage, traffic control signals or devices, roadway conditions, physical injuries or anything else that clarifies what happened.
- FILE REPORTS. If police do not come to the scene, you should still file a police report as soon as possible to officially state your version of what occurred. You are also required to file a report with the Department of Motor Vehicles if another person is injured or if property damage exceeds $500.00.
- CONTACT US. If you have been injured, it is vital to consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible. You must file your case within a certain time limit called the “statute of limitations,” or your right to sue will be permanently lost. Statutes vary for each type of case and in each state. Time is of the essence in legal matters.
- SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION. It is important to seek medical attention promptly after the accident. Many personal injury cases involve head trauma, which may not seem serious at the time of the incident, but symptoms may present themselves over time. Getting an accurate assessment of your injuries will help your lawyer better prepare your case.