Ten Steps to Take After A Car Accident

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Always contact the police right away if you are involved in an accident.  A law enforcement officer’s report can be a key piece of evidence in an injury suit.

You just had a car accident.  Now what?

Here are ten things you should do right away:

1.  Stop – Assuming you are physically able, stop as close to the scene as possible, doing your best not to obstruct traffic.  Turn on your flashing hazard lights.

2.  Call the Police (911).  Report the following:

  • Location of your car
  • Your name and address
  • Your driver’s license number
  • Your registration number
  • If there are injuries

Be cooperative and answer all questions truthfully.  Do not admit fault.  And do not discuss the accident with anyone else.

3.  If you are injured, tell the police immediately and describe your injuries.  Flag a passerby to call 911 if you are unable to do so.

4.  Collect the information below.  Make sure you actually look at each piece of the other drivers’ identification.  We have seen cases where the other driver reads off his or her information and “conveniently” omits a digit or transposes two numbers in a telephone or policy number, rendering the information useless.  Be sure to copy it down yourself to be sure you get it right.

  • Name, address, phone number of each driver
  • Driver’s license information
  • Make and model of all involved vehicles
  • Vehicle(s) license plate number
  • Automobile insurance company name and policy number
  • Company name if a commercial vehicle is involved

5.  Take photographs.  Use your smartphone to take pictures of the accident scene, including damage to all vehicles if possible.

6.  Identify witnesses.  Take down names and numbers of any witnesses.  This could be key in determining who is at fault.

7.  Seek medical attention.  If the rescue squad thinks you should be taken to the emergency room (ER), then you should go.   If you are injured but do not go to the ER from the scene, you should seek medical treatment or evaluation — either at the ER or from your doctor — as soon after the accident as possible.

8.  Call your insurance company.  Report the accident, giving a detailed description. But do not admit fault.  We recommend consulting an attorney before giving a recorded statement.

9. Secure valuables and important property. If your car or truck is towed from the scene, take photos of the interior in case valuable or important personal property is inside.  Examples are special prescription glasses, medications, equipment and electronics.

10. Do not destroy evidence.  If the car or truck is equipped with an onboard computer or “black box” equivalent, make sure that it is saved before the vehicle is crushed for scrap.

If you are injured and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).  Our experienced Personal Injury team will take some preliminary information from you and will work with you to determine if you have a case, and if so, how to best proceed.

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