What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
Answers from Our Lawyers
Survivors of car accidents often have several questions about what to do next, especially if they lost loved ones or sustained catastrophic injuries. Lawyer William McBride saw his family suffer injustice at a young age and decided to devote the rest of his life to helping others in his community. Here are some of the questions we frequently receive after car crashes:
If you are involved in an automobile collision, stop what you are doing. Most states require an individual not to leave the scene of an accident, even a minor one, without first stopping to see whether there are damages or injuries.
Call 911 as soon as possible. If someone needs medical assistance, request an ambulance, especially if you suspect that you or someone else has suffered serious personal injuries. Even if it seems that no injuries have occurred, you will still want the police to examine the scene of the crash and file an accident report. However, do not discuss any circumstances of the crash and do not admit fault for the accident, even if you feel that you may have contributed to causing the accident. Admissions of fault or guilt will be used against you later. Just stick to the straight facts when speaking to the police.
If you are physically able, record the names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance policy numbers, accident report numbers and license plate numbers for everyone involved. If there are witnesses to the accident, ask for their names and telephone numbers before they leave the scene.
Call your own insurance agent as soon as possible after the accident. Just relay the facts of the accident as you know them; do not guess about what happened. If you do not know an answer to the insurance agent’s question, “I do not know” is a perfectly acceptable answer.
However, do not speak with or offer a recorded or written statement to the other driver’s insurance company. Do not sign any kind of insurance document without consulting with an attorney. These insurance companies will seek to place the blame for the accident squarely on you, and they may attempt to mislead you into admitting fault for the accident. They record every telephone call, so do not speak to them without your own attorney at your side.
Your attorney will work with you to determine what damages you could pursue through legal action. You may be able to win compensation for the following:
- Medical costs associated with the wreck
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lost wages
- Vehicle and property damage
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death of a loved one in a fatal car accident
Unfortunately, many drivers ignore motor vehicle insurance requirements or carry insufficient insurance. Although some insurance companies may offer to settle your case with the full amount of the other driver’s insurance, this may not cover the medical expenses and lost wages you have incurred. Your attorney can help you explore your options for getting the compensation you deserve in cases like these.