When a car accident occurs, it is not always easy to know what you should do to protect yourself. Of course, the most important thing in any collision is your physical safety and the safety of others. Also, it is important to protect your rights at the scene of the accident and afterward. By taking specific actions and avoiding some others, you may increase your likelihood of recovery from injuries while keeping your rights secure.
Keep in mind that it is not wise to leave the scene of an accident until medical personnel and/or law enforcement arrive, particularly if any party in the accident suffered injuries or lost their life. In many cases, leaving the scene of an accident may lead to criminal charges.
Protect your legal rights
When you experience an accident that involves serious property damage or injuries, call the police. When police arrive, take down the badge numbers and names of the officers on the scene and request an official police report. This creates official documentation about the accident, which may help you create a strong injury or property loss claim later on.
As soon as you can, exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties in the accident. However, it is important to keep in mind that everything you say to another party may have legal implications. To protect yourself, speak as little possible to the other parties and avoid apologizing to anyone. Apologies sometimes qualify as an acceptance of liability for an accident.
When you can, collect pictures and video evidence from the accident scene. Once cleanup crews get to the scene, you may lose useful evidence forever. You may also want to check with nearby homes and businesses to see if they have security camera footage of the accident. Many security systems only keep footage for two to three days, so be sure to collect this quickly.
Protect your physical health
Even if you do not feel any injuries or see signs of an injury, you should still seek professional medical examination as soon as possible. Car accidents commonly cause injuries that remain painless for hours or even days. Some of these injuries are painful but temporary, such as whiplash, while others are potentially deadly, such as internal bleeding.
A complete medical examination not only protects your health and recovery from an accident, it also creates documentation of medical treatment. Building a strong personal injury claim is much easier and more effective with ample documentation and evidence.
By taking action to protect your legal rights and physical health, you lay a strong foundation for a sturdy legal strategy to help you recover fully. Be sure to use high-quality legal resources and guidance as you move through the claims process, keeping your rights and well-being secure while you work to recover and move on from your accident.