Let’s face it, car accidents happen. And they are going to continue to happen because we are not perfect. Negligence, lack of attention, and mistakes are a part of life.
Unfortunately, many car accidents result in physical and financial injury. That is why both new, and even experienced drivers, should be well schooled in the 7 initial steps to take immediately following a car accident:
1. Take a deep breath and don’t lose your cool – There is no sense in rushing out of the car, running around, and/or yelling. First of all, you may be hurt, and second, the police may be more interested in subduing you than hearing your side of it.
2. Get the other car(s) license plate number(s) – They might leave the scene. Everyone should have a pen in their car for just this situation.
3. Call the Police – Don’t try to just “work it out”. You do not know the other driver, and you have no reason to trust him/her. The Police can document everything about the cars, the drivers, and how the accident happened. Let them do the work.
4. Ask for the ambulance, and take it – This is not the time to be a tough guy. All too often you don’t feel the physical affects of the accident until much later, even a day or two later. So take the time to get checked out. Treat this situation as the big deal it is.
5. Take photographs – There may never be a better time to accurately memorialize the damage to the car(s), where the cars came to a rest in the road, skid marks, etc. So if you are able, put that cell phone camera to work. If you can’t, see if someone else at the scene can do it for you.
6. Find witnesses – This means you need to get that person’s actual name and number. The “nice person who stopped” will never be able to testify at a trial if you don’t know how to contact him/her.
7. Call a competent and qualified attorney – You need a lawyer experienced in car accident cases to guide you through the rest. You shouldn’t do it yourself, and believe me, you don’t want to try. At the very least, get yourself a free consultation.