Getting in an auto accident can be a very frightening experience, and many people aren't sure what to do in the minutes, hours, and days after the event. In all cases, the first thing you need to do is make sure you are ok, your passengers are ok, and anyone else involved in the crash are ok. If someone is injured, helping them get the medical attention they need should take priority over everything else. Once that is done, however, there are some specific things you can do to help protect your immediate and long term legal rights.
Call the Police
Calling the police is often a legal requirement if there is an accident, but even if that were not the case, it would be in your best interest. When the police arrive, they will file an official police report with many important details regarding what happened. This police report will be very important should you have to file any type of lawsuit, or even just an insurance claim.
You want to make sure to gather as much evidence as possible about what happened in the accident. Take pictures of the vehicles involved in the wreck, any ‘skid marks' on the pavement, and anything else that could possibly be relevant.
In addition, collect the names and number of everyone in the accident, as well as any witnesses in the area. In the hours and days following the accident, you may remember different things that you had forgotten. Write these things down immediately, and add a date and time of when you remembered them.
Don't Agree to Anything
You'll need to report the accident to your auto insurance company fairly quickly after it takes place. Insurance companies often try to get you to agree to a settlement as quickly as possible. This allows them to control exactly how much the payout will be, and protect themselves from a costly lawsuit. Never accept any settlement or other payment without first talking to an attorney about all your options.
Speak with an Attorney
As soon as possible after the accident, make sure to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to go over your situation. This will help you to determine what your next steps should be. The Tyra Law Firm will be happy to talk with you and provide you effective representation should a lawsuit of any kind become necessary.