To paraphrase an old motorcycle rider axiom, “there are only two types of drivers, those who have been in an accident and those who are going to be an accident period.”
This is not 100% accurate, but the simple fact of it is that with millions of miles driven each day Americans get into their fair share of collisions.
Most of us have been there. Something terrible happens in the blink of an eye and all the plans for the day or evening immediately shift to worrying about the safety of ourselves and those around us. Usually, the occupants of the vehicles are still conscious but stunned. The first reaction is to take stock of our own physical condition and then begin worrying about the other occupants and those in the other vehicle.
Steps You Should Take After A Car Accident
Once assured, what steps should you take? After handling hundreds of car wreck cases, we have some thoughts:
1. Follow your instincts – act like a human. After a collision, our first reaction is often to place blame and get angry. Avoid this. Instead, focus on health and safety of the occupants of your vehicle and the other vehicle. Some people get so worried about the potential for litigation that they ignore their own natural, human instincts. Compassion is never a mistake.
2. Take a few pictures of the scene in the vehicles involved. Automobiles are often sold for scrap and crushed after a collision and pictures end up our only evidence of the speeds of the vehicles involved. In fact, we have litigated many case by using the testimony of accident reconstructionists whose opinions were based, in large part, on pictures of the vehicles taken at the scene.
3. Call the police and get a report. Even if no one is injured in a collision, it is best to document this fact by calling the police to make a report. This does two things: a) ensures that no one can claim phantom injury against you; b) documents the drivers’ first impressions of what occurred.
4. Call your insurance company. Whether you believe the collision is your fault or the fault of the other driver, you should contact your insurance company immediately and let them know what has happened. This is in keeping with your duties under your contract of insurance, and is the best way you can protect yourself in the future should a claim arise.
5. Get checked out by a medical services provider. No matter whether you think you are injured or not, it is always a good idea to know, not guess, what has happened as a result of the forces at play in an accident.