| Added On April 14, 2010
One of the first things you “must” do if you’ve been involved in a wreck is to stay at the scene, unless of course there is a medical emergency. Do not take off, or the consequences of a hit and run will be far more severe. It doesn’t matter if you are at fault or if the “other” driver caused the accident; just stay put. While you’re doing that, if you had passengers in the car, get them out and away from the crash site to a safe location. If this is not possible, then do what you can to assist them and assure them help is on the way.
If you don’t have a cell phone and can’t call 911, then it’s a safe bet someone else has already done that for you. If you do have a phone with you, make that call as soon as you can and tell the dispatcher your location and what injuries have been sustained.
If you have first aid training or happen to have a medical background, do what you can to help those who are injured. Don’t move anyone who is badly injured, unless you absolutely have to in order to protect them from an explosion or other cars passing the scene of the wreck.
When help arrives on the scene, tell the truth as you know it, but stick only to the facts. Show them your driver’s license, insurance information and documents like that, but otherwise volunteer nothing. Now is not the time to guesstimate how fast you or the other person were travelling, because the truth is, you probably don’t really know how fast you were going.
The shock of being in a bad accident does nothing for a person’s memory, so don’t offer anything to the police other than what they need. Save your comments, thoughts, feelings and perceptions for when you speak to your car accident attorney.
Further to this, don’t offer your opinion on who you think is at fault. Just tell it like it is. If the car turned in front of you, tell the police that – but “just” that. If the driver appeared out of nowhere and was swerving from lane to lane without signaling, tell the police that as well, but don’t offer your opinions as to why you think he/she was weaving all over the road. Let them figure that out for themselves.
The main thing here is that in most car accidents, the reasons for the accident are not always obvious at first glance. In some cases it’s clear that someone was drinking, because the driver can’t walk, talk or stand and smells of alcohol. In others, it may not be clear that the driver ran a red light because they were on a cell phone. It’s these types of details that will make a difference in the determination of liability or fault for the crash. The less you say the better off you are later.
There are some people who would advise you to move the vehicles, if you can, in order to reduce the likelihood of another accident happening on top of the first one. While this might be an idea, there are at least two things that would not make this a viable option. The first one is that most car wrecks, if they took place on the highway, were at high speeds. There usually isn’t a working vehicle left to move after the dust settles from the crash. The second thing is that the police don’t like having the vehicles moved because it messes up the accident scene and makes the accident scene investigator’s job a lot more difficult.
If you happen to have gotten out of the wreck relatively unscathed, try and jot down some notes about what happened, if you are able to remember anything. In some instances, you will merely draw a blank due to the shock and the details of your car accident will be told through a combination of police accident reports, eyewitnesses, the statement of the other driver and the evidence at the scene.
Got a cell phone that still works after the accident? If so, take pictures and keep them for the car accident attorney. Pictures really do say more than words and make for great evidence for a trial or settlement with the insurance company. Pictures of the wrecked vehicle itself are the most crucial, because sometimes a tow truck takes it right to the dump if it’s totaled. Try not to let this happen and if it does, let your car accident attorney know where they took your vehicle.
The best tip you could ever get from a seasoned car accident attorney is to always carry an “accident kit” in your vehicle – just in case. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but should include a pen and paper, disposable camera, your medical history card and a basic first aid kit. Know your insurance policy inside out and make tracks to hire a seasoned car accident attorney. You’re going to need the help.