A car accident can be an extremely harrowing, stressful, and overwhelming experience, especially if the accident resulted in serious injury. However, knowing what to do in the moments after an accident can make all the difference in the world when it comes to pinpointing errors and getting a successful outcome on a personal injury claim. In some cases it can be very clear who is responsible for causing the accident, which can make the claims process much smoother. In other cases, the injured victim may need to build a strong case to prove that the other driver was at fault. A successful car accident claim often depends on critical information gathered immediately after the accident that serves as evidence to support the victim’s claim.
Victims of a car accident should consult an experienced car accident attorney.
What steps do I take immediately after an accident?
After a car accident, it is very important to stay as calm as possible and avoid panic. Understanding the steps to follow after a car accident can make the claims process much smoother.
Check for injuries. If the driver is physically able to do so, they should check themselves and the other drivers to see if they have sustained any injuries. Someone should call 911 immediately to report the accident and notify the dispatcher if there are injuries so an ambulance can be dispatched.
Take to a safe place. If a vehicle poses a safety hazard where it is located and the motorist can move it to a safe location, they should put it on the side of the road so that other vehicles can pass safely, stop the engine and turn the hazard warning lights.
Call 911 Minor accidents should also be reported to the police. Shipping will also send an ambulance if injuries are reported. If the driver’s vehicle is damaged and cannot be driven, he should call a tow truck. Roadside assistance insurance can cover the costs.
Exchange information. Once it has been determined that passengers are safe, they should exchange the following information with each other:
– Name and contact information
– Driver’s license and license plate
– Insurance information
– Make, model and color of the vehicle concerned
– Place of accident
– Contact information of witnesses
Take photos of the accident site. This provides important visual evidence of the events that led to the accident and who was responsible for causing the accident.
What photographic evidence should I collect on site?
When photographing the scene of the accident, drivers are asked to observe the following tips:
Take pictures from different angles. It is important to photograph all four sides of the vehicle to capture any damage and any fluids that may leak from the vehicle as a result of the accident.
Take photos that give an idea of scalability. When taking a picture of a dent in the vehicle or other property damage, holding an object like a key or wallet next to it can illustrate the size of the dent or scratch.
Take close-up shots and take pictures from a distance. If it is safe to do so, motorists should take a photo of their vehicle from a distance of at least 10 feet so that the photo includes the other vehicle. The driver should take additional pictures and gradually approach the collision point.
Take photos of the damage to the vehicle. This could include dents on the car frame, broken glass, a deployed airbag, and flat tires.
Take pictures of the injuries. If the injured driver is physically able to do so, he or she should photograph cuts, scratches, bruises or other injuries sustained as a result of the accident.
What information do I need to collect?
If a car accident results in property damage and personal injury, the injured victim may want to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the guilty driver. In order for the victim to achieve a successful outcome for their claim, the victim must seek as much evidence as possible to support the allegations made. The following is the most important information that should be gathered after a car accident:
Police report. All car accidents should be reported, even if they are minor. In the event of injuries, however, it is important that the police arrive at the scene as soon as possible so that they can speak to the affected drivers, assess the scene of the accident, speak to witnesses and prepare a police report. The police report contains information that is extremely important to an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, as it is often used to determine which driver was the cause of the accident. You can obtain a copy of the police report from the local police. The driver may be asked to indicate the date and place of the accident, the names of the two drivers involved and the ID number of the police officer who was there.
Copies of medical records. If a driver has been injured in a car accident, it is important that they see a doctor immediately after the accident. Even if the injury appears minor, the driver should be evaluated by a doctor to rule out underlying injuries that may not be immediately apparent, including head injuries and internal damage. Copies of medical records should contain information about each stage of the health process, including treatment, diagnosis, medication, follow-up care, and billing information. The following records are also important, but the motorist may need to request these records separately:
– Ambulance service, including driving by ambulance
– Emergency room, including x-rays, stitches and surgeries
– Admission to the hospital
– Prescription drugs
– Physical therapy
– Chiropractic Therapy
– Treatment by a psychologist
Wage loss records. If a motorist is seriously injured in a car accident, they may not be able to return to work for some time. In order to receive compensation for lost wages, the motorist must receive copies of pay slips, direct deposit reports, records of tips received and other documents showing how many working days were missed due to the accident and how many wages were lost. If the accident caused such serious injuries that the driver cannot return to work permanently, he may be able to receive compensation for wages lost over time.
Estimates for damage to the vehicle. If the accident damaged the motorist’s vehicle, they may be able to receive financial compensation for the cost of the repair. In order to accurately calculate the amount of money the motorist can expect, he may need to obtain estimates from several mechanics or workshops. If the accident was serious and the vehicle was damaged beyond repair, resources like Kelley Blue Book can help determine the market value of the vehicle prior to the accident. All of this information is taken into account in determining an appropriate billing amount.
Car accident journal. In addition to the evidence gathered and photos taken at the site of the car accident, it is recommended that motorists keep a detailed journal of the accident. This should include a description of the accident, what happened before the accident, and what happened immediately after the accident. In addition, the motorist should keep notes of conversations with the insurance agent or the other motorists involved in the accident. If the driver has been injured, they should keep a daily log describing how they are feeling, appointments with their doctor, recommended treatment, medication they have taken, and the number of days they have missed work due to the injury.
How can an accident attorney help?
The burden of proof of financial compensation for a car accident rests on the person seeking compensation. Auto insurance companies know this and will do everything they can to avoid costly billing. For example, if the injured victim apologized to the other motorist, this can be seen as an admission and the insurance company can use this against the injured party during the claims process. A dedicated auto accident attorney assists the injured driver every step of the claims process, gathers the necessary documents and negotiates with the insurance company to obtain the best possible settlement offer.
Baltimore auto accident attorneys at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton ensure justice for auto accident victims
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, it is in your best interest to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Knowing what steps to take after an accident can make the ordeal much less stressful and increase the chances of a successful settlement. Our dedicated legal team will guide you through the claims process and ensure you receive the maximum monetary compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are conveniently located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s Counties, where we represent victims across Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and Eastern Shore and the parishes of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood and Elkridge.