Serious car crashes are shocking and violent. In the aftermath, it can be very difficult to know what to do, especially if you were injured. Reading these tips now may help you if you are ever in a crash as a driver or passenger, or if you are a witness to a crash.
What to Do Immediately After a Crash
The most important steps to take after a crash are to get everyone out of danger and call 911. If anyone has been injured, let the 911 operator know that medical help is also needed. Once this is taken care of, you can begin to gather important information, including the following basic facts:
- The full names of the drivers of the vehicles involved.
- The driver's license numbers and addresses of all of the drivers.
- The full names and addresses of any passengers in any of the vehicles.
- The full names and addresses of any pedestrians or other parties involved.
- The full name, address, and phone number of any witnesses to the accident.
In addition to collecting names and addresses, you should write down your version of what happened and take notes about what you see in the aftermath. Try to answer the following questions:
- Did any person involved in the accident report any personal injury shortly after the accident?
- Did it appear as if anyone involved was influenced by drugs or alcohol?
- Was medical assistance rendered at the scene of the accident?
- What personal injury did the injured person report? Did anyone say "I'm not hurt?"
- In what direction were the vehicles traveling just prior to the accident?
- At what time of day did the accident occur?
- What were the weather conditions at the time of the accident?
- Was there anything wrong with the vehicles before the accident such as broken tail lights?
- Was there any damage to the vehicles as a result of the accident? What parts of the vehicles were damaged?
- Did any of the vehicles need to be towed from the scene of the accident?
When the police arrive, they will begin an investigation and will be asking some of the same questions. You will be able to obtain a police report later on, so don’t worry too much about talking to everyone at the scene. If you are an injured victim in the accident, the sooner you hire an attorney, the easier it will be to get the information you need to support your claim. Your attorney will be able to get the following important questions answered:
- Who are the registered owners of the vehicles (names and addresses)?
- Were all vehicles involved in the accident insured? What are the names of the insurance companies and the policy numbers?
- Did anyone accept responsibility for the accident, or make a comment such as "It was my fault, I am sorry, I was speeding, not paying attention, not wearing my glasses, distracted, tired, late for work, in a hurry, my coffee had just spilled, I should have seen you but I was on my cell phone, I've been taking these pills, my eyesight isn't what it used to be after dark, etc."?
Do the Best You Can
While it might not be possible to gather all of this information in the chaos following a crash, as much basic information as possible should be collected at the scene. As time passes, memories tend to fade and new versions of the chain of events are created. Putting the basic information down on paper helps later when liability for the accident begins to be examined. With the car accident attorneys at Keller and Keller on your side, you can relax and focus on your physical recovery.