What You Should Do After a Car Accident
When a car accident happens you are immediately expected to know how to react, when the truth is you might still be in shock. Preparing yourself mentally in advance can help you legally if a real situation occurs. Some basics on what you should do after a car accident are provided below.
#1 Check If You or Anyone Else is Hurt and Ensure Your Safety
Quickly assess if you or anyone else has been injured. If so, ask someone to call an ambulance, and do not risk further injury by moving too soon. If not, determine if there is an immediate danger (e.g., if you are on the highway) and if you should remain where you are until the police arrive, or if you can pull off to the shoulder to exchange information with the other driver.
Also note that you should consult with a personal injury lawyer if you are injured from the accident. They can inform you about what laws and benefits apply in your situation and if you have a viable personal injury lawsuit.
#2 Make the Phone Calls that are Needed (e.g., ambulance, police, lawyer, insurer)
If you determined that an ambulance was not needed, but you believe that the other party may be impaired by alcohol, drugs, medication, or extreme fatigue/drowsiness, then you should immediately call 911 for the police to come to the accident scene. Similarly, you must still call the police to the accident scene if the damage to both vehicles exceeds $2,000. Otherwise, you should report the accident at your local collision centre.
You must also notify your insurer about the accident, regardless of who you believe was at fault and whether or not you plan to make a claim for damage to your property or person.
#3 Exchange Contact and Insurance Information
After an accident, each driver should provide identifying information (e.g., name, contact information, driver’s licence number), and proof of insurance. You should also obtain the vehicle’s make, model, year and plate number if possible. Write down the information you can obtain if the driver refuses to provide information, including a description of the driver.
Don’t discuss the accident with the driver or payment. It is especially important not to cast blame or admit fault.
#4 Get Witness Information If Possible
If you see a witness, ask for his or her contact information. Witness evidence is valuable even if the witness only saw or heard what happened after the accident.
#5 Make Your Own Accident Record, With Photos and Video
If it is possible, take photos and video of the accident scene, including the road location, any skid marks, nearby signs, the vehicle damage and injuries. A cell phone camera will do.
If you cannot take photos or video because you are too injured or you don’t have a camera with you, ask a friend or family member for help. Or, go back to the accident scene with your camera as soon as you can.
You should also record the facts, including the date, time, location, road and traffic conditions, the weather, who was driving and what you observed. Write down where the vehicles were before and after accident, where the vehicle damage is, where your injuries are or were and who said what.
You cannot count on the police report for the information you need. The police may not record all the information, they can make errors and they do not have to share the information they collect with you.
#6 See Your Family Physician
It is best to see your family doctor as soon as possible after an accident, even if you saw a doctor at the hospital. Your own doctor should know about the accident to help you with your recovery long-term, to make any referrals you need and to document your injuries. Some injuries (e.g., whiplash and brain injuries) are not always immediately visible and they could take days or weeks to show up, in which case you should go back to see your doctor for assistance.
It is critical to inform your physician about all your symptoms and injuries and that your doctor records them. Do not exaggerate and do follow your doctor’s advice. Prior to discontinuing any recommended treatment, make a follow up appointment and see your doctor if your condition does not improve.
If you are injured, you may find it beneficial to keep a journal about your injuries and if and how you are recovering over the weeks and months or years. A journal you make will refresh your account of the accident when you need it and it may be submitted in court along with other documentation to evidence your injuries.
Call Gillis Injury Law for a Personal Injury Lawyer in Richmond Hill and Surrounding Areas
If you or a loved one are injured in a car crash, contact our team of accident lawyers in Richmond Hill to assist you. Our personal injury lawyers serve York Region and the surrounding areas, and handle a full spectrum of major and minor car accident cases routinely. We can start protecting you legally as soon as you retain us, which is why it is important to arrange your free consultation with us right away. We put our clients’ needs first when it comes to compensation; we charge fees on a contingency fee basis, which means that we only get paid if we win a settlement for you. Contact us today at Gillis Injury Law at 905-709-7447.