Hundreds of thousands of motorists are involved in traffic accidents each year. These collisions range from minor and frustrating to dangerous and deadly. Experienced attorneys like Alexander Petraglia advise clients to take certain steps in the aftermath of a collision.
In the moments after a crash, it is normal to be distraught and unsure of what to do. If you are involved in a traffic accident, take the following steps to protect your own legal interests. These steps will ensure that you have the strongest case possible if you decide to file a claim or pursue a lawsuit.
Step 1. Address Any Urgent Medical Needs
Your top priority after a car accident should be your own personal safety, followed by the safety of those involved. Call an ambulance if anyone is injured from the collision or requires medical assistance.
It is important to seek a medical examination after an accident, even if you do not immediately notice an injury. Some conditions are only diagnosable by a medical professional.
Step 2. Get to Safety
If you are able to, move your vehicle out of the roadway and into a safe area. You can move your car to the side of the road or onto a sidewalk.
If your car is too damaged to move, leave it where it is. Regardless, get out of the path of traffic and to a safe location as soon as you can.
Step 3. Call 911
Once you have gotten your car to a safe location, contact the authorities. When you call 911, the operator will dispatch the police. Whether your accident is serious or not, contacting law enforcement is important.
In some states, this is a legal requirement after a collision. When an officer reports to the scene, they will fill out an accident report. Your insurance provider may require a copy of this report when you file a claim.
Step 4. Exchange Insurance Information
You should exchange important information with the other involved drivers. Collect the following information about the other parties:
- Name and contact information
- Insurance information and policy numbers
- License plate number and driver’s license information
- Color, make, model, and year of the vehicle
- The specific location of the accident
Although it is important to collect this information, you should keep any other conversation to a minimum. Never say anything that implies you are at fault for the collision.
Step 5. Wait for Help to Arrive
After you have called law enforcement and requested any necessary medical assistance:
- Wait patiently for help to arrive.
- Turn off your car’s engine.
- Turn on your hazard lights as a signal to those in traffic.
Step 6. Document the Accident
In case you need to file a claim in the future, you should collect evidence to document your accident. The following items are useful in a traffic accident claim or lawsuit:
- The names of police officers
- A copy of the accident report
- Pictures of the property damage, location, etc.
- Names and contact information of witnesses
It is important to gather evidence immediately after the collision. As time passes, some types of evidence will become more challenging to obtain.
Step 7. Consult an Accomplished Attorney
Finally, discussing your case with an accomplished legal professional is vital. A trusted trial lawyer like Alex Petraglia can help you to fully explore your legal options. If your accident was due to another driver’s negligence, secure competent legal representation as soon as possible.
About Alexander Petraglia
As a seasoned trial attorney, Alexander Petraglia represents and protects his clients’ interests with vigor and unparalleled commitment. He has a wealth of legal experience, both criminal defense and civil suits, and currently works at Deters Law Office, where he tirelessly works to protect his clients’ liberty, health, and wealth.