Every year, thousands of people are involved in car crashes. Thankfully, many are not fatal. However, being involved in such an accident is both upsetting and scary. If you do become involved in an accident, you might not be able to think about what you should be doing.
It might not sound like the best time, but you need to focus on what you need to do and any records you need to keep. It may be that no-one is at fault, however, if you don’t take the information down, it will be difficult to answer questions later.
Here are some of the things that you can do to record the scene and gather as much evidence as possible.
Get Yourself and Others to Safety
One of the first things you need to do is to get everyone to a safe place. You might not know what caused the accident, so it may still be dangerous out there. If you are on a motorway or large road, there may be barriers along the side. Try to get everyone behind the barriers because this will be safer for them.
If you are in the country, try to move people as far away from the road as possible. It could be a farmer’s field or on a grassy bank. On country roads, you are in more danger, because other drivers might not see you due to smaller roads and sharp corners, and further accidents may occur.
As for the vehicles, if the vehicle can be driven, then try to move it out of the road. If it can’t, then don’t try to move it. Just turn off the engine and turn on the hazard lights. If you have an emergency triangle, place this behind the accident to warn oncoming traffic that an incident has occurred.
Call the Emergency Services
As soon as you have got everyone to a safe place, you need to call the emergency services. If you know that there are serious injuries, then you or someone else should call them immediately while someone else gets the others to safety.
Even if the collision was a minor one, in many areas, you are required by law to report any accident to the police, so you should do so as soon as possible. Don’t be tempted to try and move anyone or let anyone move if they are injured. The only exception is if there is an imminent danger to them if they remain there. If someone has suffered damage to their spine or have internal injuries, you may be doing more harm if you try to move them.
Don’t Accept or Place any Blame on Anyone
It is an important thing to remember because even if you think you know whose fault it is, you mustn’t place blame on anyone as this may cause difficulties later on in court. For the same reason, don’t accept any blame until the full circumstances of the accident are known.
It might be that something happened that neither you or anyone else saw. It might be this that caused the crash, and if you accept any blame, it will be difficult to recant it later on.
You can and should, of course, help anyone that is injured. And also try to get everyone to safety. These are important things to do in the aftermath of an accident, so concentrate on these things instead of trying to find a cause.
Take as Many Photos as You Can
Almost everyone now has a mobile phone with a camera. You can use this to your advantage by taking as many photos as you can. If you are one of those people who always has their phone memory full, then it could be a good idea to keep a camera in the car for just such occasions. Alternatively, you could keep a spare memory card in the car so you can swap it over.
When deciding where to take pictures, think about the scene and try to capture everything that you think might be important. Your memory might not be so accurate later so everything you can snap now will be a bonus.
Start with the accident itself; you want to get pictures of all the cars involved. You may have moved them to safety so they might not be in the original position, but as long as you can photograph the damage done to all the cars that are the main thing.
Also, take pictures of all the number plates and if you can, the owners of the cars as well. It will be important when it comes to investigating who was to blame. Take images of the roads around the scene, traffic signs, and signals, as well as any skid marks, left after the crash.
Now it is time to exchange information with the other drivers at the scene. You can do this at any time, but it can sometimes help to wait until people have calmed down and recovered from the shock. Try not to get into a discussion about blame as this can cause problems, just ask that you exchange details with everyone.
It can be easier to take photos of the driving licenses and insurance documents rather than trying to write it all down. It also helps later on if there are any issues with the driving licenses because you will have a copy.
You can also ask those people who witnessed the accident if they would be happy to exchange details with you as well. They may well have some vital information about the crash that everyone else didn’t see. Although the police will probably be questioning everyone anyway, it doesn’t hurt to get their details as well.
There are other things that you can record that could help you later. Taking a photo of the cars will also help to identify the make and model, so that will be useful. You also want to record the exact location of the accident, by taking down the street names or taking photos of them.
You should also record the time and date of the accident and the road conditions as well. It could be a vital part of the investigation if the road conditions were bad at the time. If you notice anything dangerous, take pictures or note it down. It might be a road sign covered in leaves or a broken light signal, all of these can have factors in the case.
Picking Up Your Vehicle
Once you have collected all the information, you should think about recovery of your vehicle. You will need to call your insurance company and record the incident; they may be able to help you recover the vehicle and take it to a safe place or a garage to be assessed.
Your insurance company will assess the damage and let you know if the car can be fixed, or if it needs to be scrapped.
Contacting an Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured, you may want to consider contacting an injury lawyer to help you with a possible claim. The same would apply if you were contacted by an injury lawyer from one of the other parties. You should, in that case, seek professional advice, even if you were not injured.
Before you hire the first lawyer to see, think about what you need and then make an informed choice. Some lawyers don’t deal with cases of this type, so their knowledge may be less than you need. Lawyers such as www.stephenbabcock.com are trained in the details of personal injuries, so they know what needs to be done to get the right result. It is also important to find a local lawyer to where you live, as there may be local laws or rules that they will help you understand.
Once you have spoken to a couple of lawyers, go and visit them so that you can have a face to face chat and see how they are. You can tell them the details of the case, and see how they can help you. After you have had the meetings, go home and think about the one that is best for you.
Once you have chosen your lawyer, make sure that they get all the evidence you took at the scene as well as any doctors reports or other medical information. It can also be helpful to give them the name and badge number of the officer at the scene so they can get a copy of the report.
Being involved in an accident can be one of the scariest things to happen regardless of who’s to blame. However, it is important that you gather as much evidence as you can before everyone leave the scene. Many people leave the scene of an accident without taking any details. It can lead to a lot of problems later, especially if they are required to give details of the crash.
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