After an auto accident, it can be tough to think of what to do and react quickly to protect yourself, start the recovery process and ensure that you and the other parties involved are not seriously injured. However, because there are six million car accidents that occur in the country every year, there’s a good chance that you will experience at least one over the course of your life. Before you are in the situation, it’s a good idea to know the steps you should take after an auto accident. Hoffman, Comfort, Offut, Scott & Halstad LPP is here to help you start your path to recovery.
1. Ensure Your Safety
First, take a moment to focus on your own health and safety. You might feel disoriented, nauseous or shaky right after a car accident, and that is completely normal. If possible and safe to do so, turn your hazard lights on and try to move your car to a safer place that is not in the current lane of traffic. If you smell gasoline, get out of your car as quickly as possible. If you are remotely concerned that it might not be safe for you to operate your vehicle, do not worry about moving it. Your personal safety is paramount after an auto accident, so take time to take a deep breath and focus on yourself.
If you have any injuries or think that you need medical attention, call 911 to request emergency responders. If you are able to move, it can be a good idea to check everyone else in your vehicle and go ensure that the other drivers or people involved don’t need medical attention. Do not have a conversation about the accident, admit fault or worry about the details yet. Instead, just check to see if you need to call 911 on their behalf.
2. Call the Police
If you didn’t already request emergency services, it’s also a good idea to call the police. Police can take an accident report, which is critical if there are injuries and our team needs to assist in evaluating your legal case. Request the officer taking the report’s name and badge number, as well as the report number, so that you will be able to call back and get the details. Again, don’t chat with the other driver or admit fault. Instead, focus on the facts if and when the police ask you.
3. Gather Critical Information
Next, take the time to collect information from any other drivers involved. If you have any witnesses, you should also record their names and contact information. From the other driver, take time to record their:
- Phone number
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
- Insurance information (including company, policy number, etc.)
You should also take a moment to record some details about the accident before you forget them. Make a note of:
- The date and time
- The road or intersection you were at
- Where the accident occurred
- What direction you were traveling
- Where the other car was traveling
- Driving conditions at the time of the accident
- Your memory of what occurred
Even though things can be so confusing after an auto accident, it is critical that you take time to record these details now before you forget anything. Things like the sun shining in your eyes might not be able to be looked up in the future.
4. Contact Your Insurance Company
Next, call your insurance company to report that you were in an accident. If you have information about the other driver, you can also pass this onto them so that they can take care of contacting the other insurance company. Do not give a recorded statement about what happened until you contact your lawyer, as what you say can and will be used against you or used to change your premium or expenses. After an auto accident, it can be confusing and stressful, so many sure that any passengers in your car also understand what they are required to say and what they don’t have any obligation to say.
You also might hear from the insurance company for the other driver. If you don’t hear from them within a few days, you can proactively contact them to let them know that you were in an accident with a driver from their insurance company. Again, do not admit fault or give details that might incriminate you. Focus on only offering the most basic information that you can, including your phone number or the contact information of your attorney. Insurance companies take meticulous notes and record phone calls, so you can expect whatever you say to be factored in during a future court case.
5. Call Your Lawyer
After an auto accident, take time to contact your attorney at Hoffman, Comfort, Offut, Scott & Halstad LPP. We can assist you in your next steps and determining what path you can take. This is especially important if you were hurt after your accident. Keep good records of any trips to the doctor or hospital that you take, as well as receipts for your expenses. These are critical pieces of evidence if you do need to file a lawsuit or head to court, and failing to keep track of them might mean a weaker case or not being able to receive the amount of compensation that you deserve.
Help for Auto Accident Victims After an Auto Accident
Hoffman, Comfort, Offut, Scott & Halstad LPP is an established law practice dedicated to assisting auto accident victims throughout Maryland. We specialize in wills, estates, trusts, family law, personal injury law, business law, elder law and real estate law. To get in touch or schedule your consultation, call us at your convenience at (410) 848-4444. We are here to help you get the restitution that you deserve and start on the path to healing.