What Should I Do at the Scene of a Car Accident?
There are several things you should do at the scene of a car accident, if possible. First, contact the police. If you are able to, take photographs of the accident scene, the damage to the vehicles, and your injuries. It is also important to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver and speak to any witnesses of the accident and get their contact information.
Most importantly, make sure to get any injuries evaluated and treated by a medical professional. If you do not receive medical attention from emergency responders, visit a hospital or doctor’s office as soon as possible to address your injuries.
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Never Leave the Scene of a Car Accident
The law requires individuals who have been involved in a motor vehicle collision to stay at the scene of the accident. Leaving the scene of a car accident is a criminal offense that can lead to “hit and run” charges. Furthermore, it will be almost impossible to get compensation after a car accident if you did not remain at the accident scene.
Contact the Police
Some people assume that involving the police in a car accident is only necessary if the accident involved some type of crime, such as drinking and driving. On the contrary, state laws often require that you call the police if a car accident has resulted in injury, death, or property damage over a certain amount.
When the police arrive, they will take statements from you and the other drivers. The police will include the information they gather in the official accident report. This report may become a critical piece of evidence for your potential personal injury case.
Exchange Information with the Other Driver
If your accident involved one or more other motorists and you are not too injured to do so, exchange information with the other drivers. Give them your full name, phone number, auto insurance provider and policy number, and other key information. Make sure to gather this information from the other drivers involved in the accident, as well.
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Speak to Witnesses
Eyewitness testimony can be a vital source of evidence after an accident. If you can do so safely, speak to anyone who witnessed the accident. Write down their name, contact information, and what they remember witnessing during the accident. Witnesses may be able to confirm the events that happened or offer new information about the other driver’s actions during and immediately before the accident. An attorney may also be able to help you collect this information later.
Do Not Admit Fault
In the chaos after a collision, one important thing to do is avoid admitting fault. If you are like many people, you may often say the word “sorry” as a way of being polite. Even if you did nothing wrong, you might feel compelled to apologize for the unfortunate situation in which you and the other driver find yourselves.
However, apologizing after a car accident can imply fault. In the moments after a car accident, you will understandably be shaken up and disorientated. You do not know all of the facts of the case yet, so accepting responsibility for the accident or speculating about fault is premature. Furthermore, making statements that imply that you were at fault may significantly reduce your chances of recovering compensation for your damages.
Get Medical Treatment Immediately
If you were injured in the accident, get evaluated by your doctor or another medical professional as soon as possible. Whether this is something you should do at the scene of the car accident or soon afterward will depend on the severity of your injuries. This may involve receiving treatment from emergency responders at the scene or visiting a hospital or your physician on your own.
Many people make the mistake of waiting to go to the doctor until well after an accident because they do not realize how injured they are. The shock of the accident and the adrenaline in their bloodstream may mask the pain they would otherwise be feeling. This can cause them to underestimate the severity of their injuries.
Receiving medical attention immediately or soon after an accident accomplishes several tasks. First, it ensures that you receive the prompt medical treatment you need. Traumatic brain injuries, neck injuries such as whiplash, and spine injuries are often especially insidious, as symptoms may take hours or days to set in. The Mayo Clinic states that concussion symptoms may take days or even weeks to become apparent.
Secondly, it ensures that you will have an official medical record of your injuries and when they occurred. Proving that the at-fault party’s actions caused injuries is an essential component in a personal injury claim.
Contact Distasio Law Firm
If you were hurt in an accident in or around Tampa, contact Distasio Law Firm. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, property damage, lost income, and other damages. Our team can help you gather evidence to support your claim, negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company, and fight for compensation on your behalf.
Call our office at (813) 259-0022 for a free, confidential case evaluation.