Odds are you will be involved in a car accident at some point in your life. In fact, The typical person will be in 4.5 wrecks on average in their lifetime. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 2.35 million people were injured in a car accident in 2008 alone. If you find yourself involved in even a minor accident what you do at the scene may determine how smoothly your recovery process goes later on.
Get All the Facts
Once you have pulled your car to the side of the road and called for emergency assistance it is time to start collecting information. There is no such thing as too much information in a car accident. Talk to the other driver. Get their insurance information, name, address, license plate number and driver’s license number if you are able. Talk to the police. Ask for a business card and an incident number. This number will help you obtain a police report later on. Locate any witnesses that remained at the scene. Get their name, phone number and address so your lawyer can contact them about your accident. Also, be sure to jot down any information you can about the accident including the speed and direction you were traveling and any facts you can remember. If you injuries are severe enough, then you may not be able to do all this investigation, so if possible call a friend or relative to come help you at the accident scene.
Do Not Take the Blame
Car accidents can be jarring and often victims are not thinking clearly while their adrenaline is pumping. Even if you think you are to blame for the accident, do not accept liability. Do not discuss the accident with the other driver or any witnesses, only the police. There may be factors in the accident you are not aware of.
Seek Medical Attention
Adrenaline not only causes you to think unclearly, it can also mask pain. The police officer will ask you if you are hurt or need an ambulance, so be sure to tell him if you are hurt, or if unsure, tell the cop that you don’t know the extent of your injury, but will drive yourself to the doctor. Even if you think you are not seriously injured you should still see a doctor. Many people sustain injuries in car accidents they were not aware of at the time. Be sure to tell the doctor if you are nauseas, light headed, dizzy, confused, disoriented, or have tinnitus as these could be a sign of a serious medical condition.
It is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. The longer you wait to see a doctor the easier it will be for your insurance company or the other driver to argue that you sustained your injuries after the car accident.
Hopefully you will never be involved in a car accident, but if you are, spend your time wisely. Get all the information you can, be careful not to accept liability, and see a doctor as soon as you are able. Remember that some information may be hard to recover after you leave the crash scene, like the names and numbers of eyewitnesses.
About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.