No one plans on falling victim to a car accident, but in the unfortunate event that you do, here are a few things you absolutely need to make sure you do to ensure maximum recovery for your injuries. This article is brought to you by Las Vegas personal injury lawyer J.W. Boyer from The Injury Firm.
1. Move to a safe area
If you are not seriously injured and you can find a safe space, move and, if possible, your vehicle out of harm’s way. If you are unable to move your car, make sure you turn your hazard lights on and move out of the way as quickly as you can.
a.) If you are injured, do not move! Try to collect as much information as you can and wait for an ambulance to arrive to take you to the hospital! If this is the case, skip ahead to step 7.
2. Turn your engine off.
Once your car has been moved or the scene has been secured, turn your car off! I’d even recommend hitting the parking brake just to be safe. The last thing you want is for a mechanical fire to erupt in the event that something is leaking.
3. Check on all parties involved
Make sure all parties involved in the accident are ok. Take note of their physical and emotional health. If an ambulance needs to be called, call them immediately. Check to see if any witnesses have stayed at the scene and ask if they are willing to provide a quick statement to local officials.
4. Call the police to the scene
Even if the event seems minor, a police report can prove to be an invaluable asset when dealing with the insurance company or even the other drivers. Cooperate, but do NOT admit fault to anyone at the scene. Simply state the facts and that is it. Let the police determine objectively who is at fault for the crash and go from there.
If the police do not make it to the (which is highly likely if there are no reported injuries) you can file an accident report with your local DMV.
5. Collect information
Try to document as much as you can from the accident scene, such as:
- Driver and passenger names; how many passengers were in each vehicle?
- License plate numbers; VIN Number (if possible)
- Insurance info (take a photo of their insurance card and drivers license if they allow you to)
- Year, make and model of each vehicle involved.
- Witness information (names, phone numbers, address)
- Exact time, and location of the accident; weather and street conditions.
- The name and badge number of any local officials who arrive to the scene.
6. Document the scene
If you have a smartphone with a camera, take photos of the scene alongside individual photos of each vehicle and the damages you believe resulted from the accident. I’d also recommend you take photos of any injuries.
7. Contact an attorney
Once you’ve completed steps 1-6, contact a personal injury attorney! As you may already know, the insurance companies are not on your side. They are solely concerned with maintaining a healthy bottom line. You need an aggressive personal injury attorney to fight for the settlement you are entitled to. Your personal injury lawyer will guide you through the process from start to finish to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your injuries.
Do not wait! Each state retains its own Statute of Limitations for personal injury claims; the longer you wait to file, the less of a chance you have to earn a financial recovery.