By Tim O’Hare, Dallas Personal Injury Attorney
We frequently get calls from potential personal injury clients saying something to this effect: ”I was in a car wreck yesterday, and I don’t know what to do. Can you help?” The following is intended to be a guide on what you should do if you are faced with a similar situation.
First, call the police. Hopefully, you will be okay and not need to see a doctor. Sometimes, the need to seek medical attention is obvious from the moment of impact. Other times, it may not be apparent for anywhere from 24 – 96 hours – occasionally even beyond. Fortunately, most people are not injured in the majority of auto accidents and never need medical attention.
Second, get contact information from the person(s) that was involved in the auto accident. Ask to see a driver’s license and write down their full legal name, license number, address and telephone number. Ask them if their address is current. Writing the vehicle Vin# is a good idea, as well.
Third, get the insurance information from the other driver(s). Also, it is the law that you provide yours, as well. Do not refuse to give your insurance information. When getting the insurance information, ask to see the proof of insurance card, and write down the information yourself. Write down the insurance company name, policy number, coverage dates and contact information including the address and telephone number of the insurance company.
Fourth, get the contact information of every witness at the scene – same drill – full legal name, address, telephone numbers and a description of the witness to help you remember who is who.
Fifth, do not admit you were at fault and do not apologize. Be polite and professional, but do not acknowledge that the car accident was your fault.
Sixth, take pictures (if you have a camera or cell phone with camera) of the vehicles involved in the damage, showing the damage to the vehicles.
Seventh, cooperate with the police in a calm, respectful manner. If you are angry and confrontational, you may hurt your chances of getting the police officer to rule in your favor. The police report goes a long way in getting an insurance company to pay for the damages.
Eighth, if you are injured, request an ambulance or get to a doctor as soon as is reasonably practical.
Ninth, contact a personal injury attorney, like The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare, if you are injured.
Tenth, do not contact any insurance company, including your own, until you have spoken with a personal injury lawyer. This step is very important. Insurance companies may ask for a recorded statement if you call them. You should not give a recorded statement without your attorney present, if at all.
The above should serve as a guideline on what to do if you have been in an auto accident. Of course, the same holds true if you are injured in a motorcycle accident, bicycle accident, pedestrian accident or any other motor-vehicle related accident.
I hope you find this helpful.