What to Do if You Are in a Car Accident

June 20, 2013

What to do If You Are In A Car Accident

1. Try to stay calm:  Auto accidents can be a pretty scary, stressful time, but it is extremely important that you try not to panic and remain calm, especially if there are other passengers in the vehicle.

2.  Immediate Steps After a Car Accident:  There are a few steps you should always follow after an accident. First, put the car in park and put on your emergency lights. Do not leave the scene of the accident. Assess any injuries to yourself and/or passengers, and inspect the car for damages.

3.  Report the Car Accident:  Immediately call 911 and report the accident, giving dispatchers any helpful landmarks or signs that will help them find your location quickly. Let them know how many vehicles are involved, and if you or your passengers have been injured. You should not move your vehicle until the police come and safely guide you to the shoulder or side of the road.

4.  File the Car Accident Report:  Once the police arrive, file an accident report. Do not discuss the accident with anyone except for the police.  When you do talk to the police, be as accurate as possible about any statements that you make, as they will often be stated as either your quotes or statements that are attributed to you in the police report.

5.  You should get as much contact information as possible from the drivers and passengers of other vehicles involved in the accident, as well as contact information from any witnesses. Important information such as name, contact numbers, addresses, car make, model, year, color, license plate number, and VIN (Vehicle Identification Number).

You also need their car insurance name and phone number as well, and any policy numbers they might have.

6.  It is extremely helpful to try to preserve evidence.  If you have a camera or cell phone which has a built-in camera, take  photographs of the cars’ damages and the scene of the accident, as well as any visible signs of injury. In photographing the vehicles, take pictures that show all of the damage on all vehicles  as well as damage to the surrounding scene that would illustrate what happened and how the accident occurred.  If you can, take pictures of the resting positions of the vehcles immediately after the impact, and before they have been moved. If any of the vehicles have already been moved from their resting position, take photos that show the location where each vehicle came to a stop after the collision.  Photograph any debris from the vehicles, skid marks and anything else which would help to explain what happened. It is smart and safe practice to either keep a camera in your car, or to use the camera capabilities on cell phones.

7.  Contact Your Car Insurance Company:  Call your insurance company as soon as possible. Most insurance companies provide you with a wallet-sized reference card with a 1-800 emergency phone number. You can also refer to the copy of your insurance policy (which you should keep in your glove compartment). Be sure to give the insurance company as much information as possible.

8.  Whether or not you are able to take photographs after an accident, as soon after the accident as possible, write down everything that happened in the time leading up to the collision, what happened during the accident and what happened immediately following the accident. If you or others in your vehicle have been injured, you should seek immediate medical care, even if you don’t belive that the injuries are serious at the time.  It is not unusual for serious injuries to be “hidden” by the trauma of an accident, and many seriouus injuries can be avoided by prompt medical attention. On the other hand, many serious injuries can turn into tragedies if they are not detected as early as possible.
Auto accidents are never pleasant, but being able follow these steps will ensure that dealing with the aftermath will be a lot less painful.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a car accident, you may be able to take action. Please contact the attorneys of Lane & Lane, LLC, or call us at 312-332-1400 to speak with us about your options. We can help. To learn more about Lane & Lane, please visit our website at www.lane-lane.com.

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