Here are five simple tips to do after a traffic accident
If you are in a traffic accident, there are a variety of things you should do immediately to ensure your physical and financial security. The reason it is critical to understand each step is that when you are in a wreck, the events can seem chaotic even if your vehicle suffers a bumped fender. In fact, many people end up in serious medical or financial trouble by forgetting to follow steps designed to help them communicate in a legally responsible manner.
1. Check for injuries
Although it might not seem possible, even a slow-speed bump from behind can slam your back or neck in such a way that it causes latent problems. As such, you should be very careful about moving after being struck from behind. If it does seem like you are okay, you should very carefully move your neck and back to determine if there is any pain.
When an officer finally arrives, he or she will ask if you are in pain. At that time, you can then safely stretch and move your neck to determine if anything is hurting. The officer will also note any type of stiffness or apparent pain. If you feel pain, you need to inform the officer.
If, however, things are worse and you cannot get out of the car, you should not move until emergency medical professionals arrive. Not heeding this advice can end up costing you months in rehabilitative sessions that are both painful and expensive.
If you have occupants with you in the car, you should immediately assess their condition and secure their safety.
2. Call for assistance
As soon as possible, you should phone the police. This is critical as an officer will help secure the scene and help prevent any more unfortunate events, such as additional vehicles slamming into your car.
In addition to helping secure the scene, a police officer can help keep events from escalating if people in your car or the car with which you collided are angry or upset. Finally, the police can help assess the situation and begin taking notes for their report.
3. Determine if the location is safe
After an accident, some locations are simply not safe. Additional traffic can end up complicating the crash. Additionally, if the accident occurs on a highway, you will need to somehow get safely to the side of the road. Although you might not be able to move your car to a safe location, you must ensure that you and your occupants are able to get to a location that is not threatened by other drivers.
If the accident is minor and you can pull to the side of the road and get out of traffic, you should move your vehicle out of the threat of oncoming vehicles. Although this technically changes the scene, insurance adjusters and the police can get witness reports and look for such things as skid marks and damage to vehicles to get a good idea of what actually happened.
4. Never admit anything
Following the accident, you will at some point exchange insurance information with the other driver. When you interact with the other driver, it is important to keep your conversation to a minimum. Doing so will ensure that tempers do not become further inflamed. Additionally, it will help prevent you from admitting fault.
The reason you should never admit fault is because only experienced traffic lawyers can interpret the current laws and make a case regarding who was at fault. For instance, even if you are just backing up and are struck from behind, one driver might say the other should have stopped. Similarly, the other driver might say the person backing up should have paid more attention to the surroundings. However, the law might state that the person driving had time to brake. The important thing to remember is that the law is very specific, and you should not use a layman’s understanding of traffic law to ascertain fault.
5. Find an experienced attorney
Following an accident, you will need to find appropriate counsel to help you with your case. Doing so ensures that you are able to navigate the legal realities that arise after a wreck. A lawyer can help you with the insurance companies, and he or she can help you with a case that may or may not involve damages.
Story by Kim Hemphry. Hemphry is a passionate expert in the areas of Legal Matters, learning and education. She has been featured on over 50 leading Legal and education sites and is a modern thought leader in the field. More about her interests and articles on her site – http://kimhemphry.com.