The period of time immediately following a car accident can be incredibly stressful. Emotions tend to run high, but it’s important that you manage to keep your wits about you, as the actions you take may have a significant impact on your ability to seek compensation for any injuries or property damage that has occurred.
The following are just a few steps you should take immediately following an auto accident:
- Stay at the scene: Stop your car, try to get your vehicle to the side of the road, and remain at the site. In fact, it’s illegal to leave the scene of an accident, and it’s important for you to be there to speak with law enforcement officers and gather key information.
- Call the police: If someone has been injured, you are legally required to call the police. However, in general, it’s best to notify the police about the crash no matter what. Law enforcement officers will create an official accident report that could be useful if you need to seek compensation later. Officers can also serve as neutral parties to help with communication at the scene.
- Collect information and evidence: If possible, take photos of everything surrounding the accident scene, including any damage done to the vehicles, injuries suffered by drivers or passengers, damage done to the surrounding area, conditions on the road that could have caused the accident and any other factors that could be important for your potential claim. Get the contact and insurance information of the other driver(s) and of any witnesses who may have seen what happened.
- Don’t incriminate yourself: Never take full or partial responsibility for the accident at the scene. Any statements you make could come back to haunt you when it comes to seeking damages later on.
- Don’t agree to anything: Never attempt to strike a deal with another party at the accident scene. It’s always best to work through insurance and seek the guidance of an attorney to make sure you protect your best interests.