An auto accident is usually scary. Things seem to happen very quickly, and it may be difficult to think clearly. Here are the following 10 things you should do if you are in an auto accident so that you’re fully prepared.

#1. Stop your vehicle.

Don’t leave the accident scene, even if you believe it’s a minor matter. This is an illegal and dangerous decision.

#2. Protect the accident scene.

You can prevent another accident by putting on your emergency flashers or setting up a flare. If it’s dark outside or your emergency lights are working, light the area with a flashlight. Wait for police to arrive. Stand by your disabled vehicle or, if it’s dangerous, stand on the side of the highway or road.

#3. Call the police.

Even if no one is seriously injured, notify the police. File a police report if you need to file an insurance claim—even if you’re only planning to claim property damage. Don’t move the vehicle unless it’s blocking traffic.

#4. Make an accurate record.

Tell the police what happened to the best of your ability. If you’re uncertain about anything, tell the police officer. Don’t speculate about anything. If the officer asks about whether you’re injured, tell him or her “I’m not sure.” Don’t say “I’m okay.” You might not experience pain from your injuries right away. Review the other driver’s statement to ensure its accuracy.

#5. Take pictures.

Use a camera from your mobile device (or an actual camera) to take pictures of the vehicles involved in the accident. Record visible vehicle damages. Take photos of your injuries, if visible. Don’t interfere with the investigation initiated by the police.

#6. Exchange contact details.

The police officer at the scene will provide you with a police report (or police report number). If the police aren’t present, get the name(s), address(es), phone number(s), and insurance information of everyone present and involved in the auto accident, both drivers and passengers. Snap a picture of the driver’s insurance card. Write down witness contact details.

#7. Contact the insurance company.

Report your accident as soon as possible. File the report right away. Cooperate fully.

#8. Protect your legal rights.

Contact a personal injury attorney immediately after an accident. He or she will protect your legal rights and make sure that pertinent evidence isn’t destroyed. If you’re asked to make a statement to the insurance company, get legal advice first. Your attorney will advise you about how to ensure that you’re fully paid for property damage. He or she will instruct you about how to obtain medical treatment. Your personal injury lawyer isn’t paid unless he or she recovers compensation for you, the injured party.

#9. Get medical attention.

Don’t wait. Many injuries don’t present for a day or more after the accident. Even if the accident was minor, you may have sustained a serious or permanent injury. An untreated head injury can result in permanent cognitive and behavioral issues.

#10. Create a file.

Keep any documents and information related to the accident in a file that includes your claim number. Record the insurance adjuster’s contact information. Keep receipts for accident-related expenses, such as rental cars or doctor visits.

Don’t speak to the negligent party’s insurance company. Tell the insurer’s representatives that you’ve hired an attorney–refer all calls to your attorney. Never discuss settlement offers!

Contact the Chino Hills personal injury lawyers at The Paris Firm now at 909-469-5127 for an initial case review.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.