Personal Injury — What To Do
What to do in case of an automobile accident.
- STOP — State law requires the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident to immediately stop his vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to the scene as possible without obstructing traffic more than is necessary. DO NOT LEAVE THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT UNTIL YOU ARE GIVEN PERMISSION TO BY THE POLICE OFFICER AT THE SCENE. You may be charged with more serious offenses if you do not remain at the scene of the accident.
- ASSIST THE INJURED — Check for injured persons. If someone is injured, ask the emergency operator to send an ambulance immediately. Do not move the injured person unless you know what you are doing. Good intentions on your part may result in further injury to the victim.
- PROTECT THE SCENE — Take all possible precautions to prevent further accidents. Warn approaching vehicles about the accident. If the accident occurs at night, use road flares, reflectors or flashlights.
- CALL 911 — Calmly notify the emergency operator of the accident and give as close a street address or cross-street locations as possible. If there are injured people, ask the operator to send an ambulance immediately.
- COMMENTS — Keep your comments about the accident to a minimum. Do not offer any opinion on the accident. Keep all your notes and information strictly to yourself. Share this information only with your attorney. Do not offer to pay for any damages. After careful investigation, you may find that the other party may be equally negligent or more negligent than you are. Allow the legal system to take its course.
- ASSIST THE OFFICER — Give the officer your driver’s license and insurance card. If asked by the officer, offer only the most basic facts as briefly as possible. Refrain from any argument with the other driver, regardless of what he says. Remember – what you say here, you may have to defend in court. Any statement made may be used as an admission. You have the right to consult an attorney before making any statement. Consult an attorney as soon as possible.
- IDENTIFY THE OTHER DRIVER — Obtain the other driver’s name, address, phone number and the registration number of the vehicle he is driving, and request him to physically exhibit to you his driver’s license.
- WITNESSES — Obtain and write down the names and addresses of any and all witnesses of the accident as soon as you can.
- PICTURES — Use your cell phone or any other camera available to take as many pictures of the scene as possible.
- WHEN TO LEAVE THE SCENE — Only leave the scene of the accident after the police officer at the scene says you are allowed to leave. Be certain that before you leave, obtain from the officer, the accident case or report number. Ask him when and where you can obtain an official copy of his report. If you are cited (given a traffic ticket) at the scene, sign the citation. Signing the citation does not mean you are accepting blame, admitting wrong or pleading guilty to anything. Any argument to the contrary should be made in front of the judge, not the officer.
- SEE A DOCTOR — Many times, physical signs of injury do not show up immediately. To be safe, go see a doctor. Have yourself evaluated by a physician as soon as possible and do what the doctor tells you.
- CALL YOUR LAWYER — It is important to preserve your legal rights in this accident. Your attorney will give you more instructions to follow. Refer all calls from the other driver, especially the other driver’s insurance company and all other inquiring minds to your attorney. Do not make any more statements about the accident to anyone else without first checking with your attorney.
- INFORM YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY — Call your insurance company and inform them of the accident. Ask you attorney for advice. Do not give a long complicated report. Make the report as simple and as basic to the facts as possible. Failure to make a prompt and correct report may affect your rights.
- MEDICAL TREATMENTS & REPAIRS — Work with the advice and consent of your attorney. Continue with your medical treatments as you are told. Generally, it is a good idea to obtain at least 3 repair quotes to get your car repaired from 3 different reputable auto-repair facilities.