After a Car Accident
Tips from a Wisconsin Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents: they happen in the blink of an eye, often when we least expect it. What can we do to prepare for a possible collision, and what steps should we take after an accident has occurred? What shouldn't we do after a collision? These are issues that a Wisconsin car accident lawyer at Cannon & Dunphy S.C. can address. For insight that pertains to a particular accident, please call our offices for a free case review. For basic information on this important subject, read on:
First and foremost, it helps to be prepared. Make sure your vehicle is equipped with cones, warning triangles or emergency flares to alert traffic if an accident does occur. Keep your contact, medical and insurance information in an easily accessible place in your vehicle, like the glove box. Always check your vehicle before you drive, particularly before long trips. Making sure that your tires, brakes, lights and other vehicle parts are in working order could help you avoid an accident in the first place.
If you find that you are involved in a collision:
- Try to remain calm.
- Check for injuries; call for an ambulance if anyone is seriously injured.
- Render aid to others, if possible.
- Turn on hazard lights and set out cones, flares or warning triangles if you have them.
- Even if injuries are minor, call 911 if the accident occurred in a potentially dangerous location, like a highway or busy street, where a secondary collision may occur – if you cannot safely pull your vehicle to the side of the road.
- Remain at the scene and exchange contact and insurance information with any other drivers.
- If you can, take pictures of the scene: tire treads, skid marks, property damage, vehicle damage, injuries, etc. These may prove valuable later on.
- Get the contact information of any witnesses who saw the accident happen.
- Get the names and badge numbers of any law enforcement personnel who arrive at the scene.
- In discussing the accident with the other driver, law enforcement or anyone else at the scene, be sure that you do not admit fault. Apologizing or saying that you were to blame may affect your ability to seek financial compensation.
- Notify your insurance company that you have been involved in an accident.
- If you have not already, seek medical attention. Even if you feel your injuries are minor, you could have suffered whiplash or a brain injury that may not present itself immediately. Seeking medical care and telling your doctor that you were involved in a car accident is the best course of action to take.
- If you were involved in a serious accident or the cause of the collision is being disputed, consider involving an attorney. A legal professional can work to protect your interests as you pursue fair compensation for your medical care, damage to your vehicle, lost earnings and other economic and non-economic damages.
Things You Should NOT Do After a Collision
It is also helpful to understand things to avoid in the event of an auto accident, to make sure you are following the law and that you protect your rights:
- Do not leave the scene of an accident, even if it was minor. It is actually against the law to leave the scene of a motor vehicle accident that has caused property damage or injury. Remain at the scene and exchange information with the other driver or property owner, and render aid to others if you can. Leaving the scene could result in an arrest and criminal charges.
- Do not forget to report the accident to the police. Even in minor collisions, it is important to report the incident to the proper authority. This will generate a police report, which can help in any resulting insurance claim or lawsuit.
- Do not apologize or say the accident was your fault. Even if you think you were to blame for the collision, this may not necessarily be the case. Admitting fault or even saying "I'm sorry" could adversely affect a future claim or lawsuit.
- Do not forget to exchange information with the other driver. Exchange names, license numbers, insurance information, contact information and other pertinent data.
- Do not take a lazy or careless approach to the aftermath of an accident. Seek medical attention, remain on top of the insurance company regarding your claim, and contact a lawyer if you believe your rights are being violated or that your right to fair compensation is in danger. Being proactive could save your claim.
For more information and insight, contact a Milwaukee car accident attorney at our firm.