What to Do After a Car Accident
It is natural to feel panicked following a serious car accident, as confusion over what has happened and what to do next sets in. However, there are certain things to keep in mind to make sure to do in the immediate aftermath of a collision, including ensuring that your injuries are treated promptly and that any necessary evidence for insurance claims or other legal action is preserved. Providence car accident attorney David Tapalian can advise Rhode Island and Massachusetts residents on what to do after a car accident. Here are some of the key steps to take for people who have just been involved in a crash.Getting Safe and Treating Injuries
Motor vehicle accidents may occur in a busy intersection or the middle of a road. If it is possible to do so safely, everyone involved should move their vehicles to a shoulder or somewhere out of the path of oncoming traffic to avoid further injuries or damage. If that is too dangerous, a vehicle’s hazard lights should be indicated. Everyone involved in a collision should remain at the scene, since leaving the scene of any accident is against the law, and people who flee may be held liable for a hit and run offense. If a driver does flee the scene, try to get as much information on their vehicle as possible, including the make, model, and color of the car, as well as a license plate number.
If there is a serious injury or fatality, the police should be called immediately so that medical help may be dispatched, and the proper reports may be filed. A police report is important in ensuring that the proper accounts are given, in case there is an argument later about what happened and who may be at fault. Even if injuries are not apparent, people involved in an accident should be checked out by a doctor immediately following a collision. Some injuries may appear symptomless at first, such as internal bleeding or a brain injury.Exchanging Information
After everyone has gotten the proper medical attention, drivers should exchange information with each other as well as witnesses. Drivers should get each other’s names and contact information, as well as insurance policy numbers and the names of their insurers. All drivers in Rhode Island are required to have a certain amount of liability insurance to assist with the costs of expenses from accidents for which they are at fault. Drivers are also required to carry a proof of insurance in their cars at all times. Other information regarding how to contact any passengers and witnesses, including names and phone numbers, should also be gathered. This is a critical part of what to do after a car accident.Gathering Evidence and Making Statements
It is important to be honest with the police about what happened in an accident, but drivers should be careful not to make statements that blindly admit fault. Often, the chaos at the scene of an accident may be emotional, and people may feel sorry for an event without actually being responsible for it. If possible, pictures of the scene should be taken to document the position of the vehicles and any property damage that occurred.Contact Your Insurance Company
Following a car accident, you should notify your insurance company to give your account of the accident and initiate a claim for damages that fall under your policy. Insurance companies, of course, have their own interests in keeping profits up and costs down, so making sure that you keep detailed records of your doctor visits, additional treatments, and damage estimates for your vehicle or property is important to verifying claims and pursuing any future legal action that may be necessary.Consult a Providence Attorney to Discuss What to Do After a Car Accident
If you have been seriously injured in a car crash, you may have expenses that your insurance policy does not cover. In some instances, an at-fault driver’s insurance company may refuse to cooperate, or a driver may not even have insurance. Under these and other circumstances, you may have a legal right to pursue compensation in court. Contacting Providence lawyer David Tapalian is a useful next step to learn about your legal options. Tapalian Law represents car accident victims across Rhode Island and Massachusetts, with offices in Providence and Seekonk. Call us at 401-552-5000 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with a distracted driving accident lawyer or seek assistance with another type of car crash claim.