Accidents happen, especially on the road. Every year, around 2 million Americans suffer permanent injuries as a result of a road traffic accident. Your chance of being involved in an accident, at some point, is quite high. So, it makes sense to be prepared for that eventuality. You need to know what to say and do in that situation.
Get some legal advice
Before we go into the do’s and don’ts of being involved in an accident scene, we need to say that it is wise to seek some form of legal advice. You need to understand your rights and what your responsibilities are.
An experienced accident lawyer like the one who runs this website is what you really need. After years of working in the field, they understand how the police, courts, and insurance industry works. They are also aware of the scams that some drivers try to pull and how to handle them. So, it is usually best to use a lawyer that specializes in dealing with motoring accidents.
OK, that is out of the way. Now it is time to go through what you should do at the scene.
Regardless of how small the accident is, you should stop and deal with the situation there and then. If you drive off, you risk being accused of fleeing the scene, and it will likely be assumed that you were driving under the influence.
The very first thing you need to do is to check that everyone is OK and that the vehicles involved do not represent a hazard to others. If someone is injured, call for medical assistance.
If your vehicles or debris is in a hazardous position, and it is safe to do so, take steps to make things safer. For example, set up some warning triangles. If you have reflective jackets in the car, get everyone you can to put one on.
Call the police
It is wise to call the police. In most states, if someone has been injured or damage over a certain dollar amount has been caused, you are legally obliged to call them anyway. If you air on the side of caution and call them, you know, you cannot get into trouble for not doing so. Also, having a police report will prove helpful when dealing with the insurance company.
It is your responsibility to collect the details of the other parties and witnesses. The police may help you with this. But, if something gets missed and you were in a fit state to ask for that information, it is you that will be held to account for this omission.
If you are in a fit state and it is safe to do so, take photos and videos. Also, draw a quick sketch. All of this will help you to remember what happened and explain things clearly to the insurance company and your accident lawyer.
Be careful what you say
It is important to watch what you say at the scene of the accident. Everyone will be looking to apportion blame. It is a natural human instinct to do that. Be aware of this and don’t say anything that makes it seem that you may have caused the accident.
Even if you think you made an error, don’t admit it at the scene. Later, the facts will emerge and be looked at by professionals. It is they that should be deciding who is to blame rather than you and the other parties that are involved.