by Will Daniels
You’ve been involved in an injury car accident. You don’t have obvious injuries — you’re alert and aware. But what should you do? The following offers tips of everything you need to know post car-accident. Being well-prepared can make your post- car accident experience less stressful and will ultimately make any claims clearer.
Injury car accidents can be stressful and usually happen at the most inconvenient time. You can significantly reduce this stress by being prepared. The following are a few tips to help prepare yourself in the unfortunate event you are involved in an injury automobile collision.
You should stock your car with a few essentials. One way to always ensure you have these essentials with you in one place is to keep a vehicle safety kit. This can take the form of either a premade or homemade safety kit.
At a very basic level a vehicle safety kit should include
- First Aid Kit
- Tow Strap
- Reflective Emergency Triangle or Road Flares
- Jumper Cables
- Flashlight or Headlamp
- Spare Batteries for Flashlight or Headlamp
- Water / Food (Enough to last 2 days)
You also want to make sure you keep important information in your glovebox. This includes: vehicle insurance information, vehicle registration, emergency contacts, health insurance information, note pad and pencil or pen. (A disposable camera is a great addition to a glovebox if you don’t have a cellphone with a camera.)
If possible, try to keep your cell-phone charged and located in a place easily accessible in the event of an accident. (Never attempt to use a cell-phone while operating a motor vehicle!)
When you experience an injury automobile collision, it is not uncommon to feel a variety of emotions ranging from anger to extreme anxiety. It is important, following a collision, to remain calm. Always flip on your “hazard” lights and, if possible, move to a safe area.
You should only attempt to move your car out of the collision location if there are no other threats in the vicinity. If you are unable to move your vehicle, ensure that you turn on your hazard lights and stay in the vehicle.
Once in a safe location, check to see if there are any injured parties from the crash and call 911, even if the collision is minor. The police dispatcher will instruct you if an officer is required to view the scene and make a record.
DO NOT leave the scene of the collision without exchanging information. Leaving the scene of an automobile collision in which you were involved, without exchanging information, may result in civil or criminal liability.
Once you have ensured that all parties involved are all right, immediately contact your insurance agent or provider immediately.
Document, Document, Document.
After calling 911, document the damage to all cars involved in the collision. This generally involves making notes about the identities of the other driver(s) involved, taking photos of the damage to ALL vehicles and securing witness information. Any discrepancies in the vehicle’s insurance, registration or driver’s information should be noted.
Take notes (Super helpful tip: most mobile phones have a “Notes” app — input/type the following, rather than using pieces of paper which can either be lost or later prove to be illegible, due to haste, anxiousness, nerves, or a proper surface on which to write).
Make sure to note
- the time
- the specific location of accident
- description of all cars involved
Also list, for each car involved:
- License Plate Number
- description of all individuals involved in the injury car accident, including passengers.
If you can, try and take a picture of all the above. If there’s ever a time to be snapping mobile phone pics, this is it — take many photos of both cars from every angle possible.
Make sure to exchange information with the other driver(s), including:
- Telephone Number
- Driver’s License Number
- Insurance Company
- Insured’s Policy Number
It’s Almost Over.
Generally, if you have only sustained minor property damage, your insurance company will take care of everything and you should not have to talk to a lawyer. If someone is injured, you may need to seek advice from a lawyer on how to resolve any issues that arise from the incident.
Will Daniels is a law clerk with the law firm of DANIELS LAW in Sherman Oaks, CA. A recent graduate of Loyola Law School of Los Angeles, Mr. Daniels is currently waiting on his bar results. For information, visit our website at www.daniels.legal or contact us through e-mail: Info@danielslaw.com