What You Do Immediately Following a Car Accident Matters
No one plans to be in an automobile accident and when one happens, common reactions are shock and disorientation. If the unexpected happens to you, however, you need to keep your head and take certain steps to protect your rights. What you say and do right after the accident can affect your ability to receive all the compensation to which you are entitled, even if you are wholly innocent of causing the collision.
After the accident, watch what you say… and to whom you say it
Right after an accident, assuming you are able to speak to the others involved and emergency personnel, be sure to do the following:
- Don’t move the vehicles involved in the accident unless absolutely necessary. It’s best that the police see exactly where each vehicle wound up after colliding in order to investigate responsibility.
- If you must move your vehicle, snap some pictures with your smartphone first. Try to include skid marks on the ground and other evidence backing up your narrative of the accident.
- Avoid talking to the other driver beyond exchanging insurance information. Seemingly benign comments such as, I feel fine, or Sorry, I didn’t see you can come back to haunt you when insurers and attorneys get involved.
- The same rule applies when talking to emergency personnel and police officers. Give the facts when asked but avoid speculating aloud as to cause, your degree of fault and the extent you’re hurt.
- Don’t decline medical attention if recommended. Get checked out at the scene and go to the hospital if directed. You will need the evidence only medical personnel can provide to back up any injury claims, and while you may genuinely feel fine at the scene, this could be the result of shock covering the pain of injuries sustained.
Kaufman & McPherson, PLLC is a personal injury law firm in West Virginia committed to obtaining justice for accident victims across the state.