After a Car Accident

car accidents

After any car accident, it’s important to protect your rights. Even if the other driver caused an accident, proving fault can be challenging. The auto accident attorneys at Pepper & Odom, P. C. advise victims to take the following steps when they’re involved in a crash.

KEEP CALM AND REMAIN ON THE SCENE

Although you may feel shaken after a collision, try to keep calm. Typically, leaving the scene of a car accident is illegal, so you should also stay at the scene until law enforcement arrives. 

Drivers involved in a car accident must stop at the scene, as required by Alabama and Mississippi traffic laws. If a driver leaves the scene of an accident before law enforcement arrives, legal repercussions will ensue.

In the instance of a car accident, it is your obligation to assist those that suffer injuries. After you assist those that you can help, if anyone is seriously injured, call 911 for medical assistance immediately.

Until help arrives at the scene, try as best as you can to assist anyone who has an injury. After law enforcement and any needed medical units arrive, standby and wait to be seen.

Most emergency lines will ask if they need to send an ambulance, so make sure to note any injuries or symptoms upon their arrival. To make it easier for the ambulance or other drivers to spot you, you can set up flares and/or turn on your hazard lights to warn others to be aware of the accident.

This can keep other car accidents from happening, as well as preserve the site of the accident. Make sure to not touch anything that can be evidence, such as your car or certain debris from the wreck.

This can help insurance adjusters and law enforcement better project how the accident happened and who was at fault. In most cases, parties involved can leave their vehicles where they are until law enforcement arrives, as long as the vehicles involved are not interrupting traffic.

Preserving the site can be crucial in your case, but if you must get your vehicle out of traffic, do so.

Call 911

After making sure you and others are safe, call 911 or local authorities. Alabama and Mississippi law require that in the event of an accident where the damages equal anything $500 and up.

It does not matter the severity of the accident, calling law enforcement to come document the accident is always a good idea. Even if you believe you aren’t seriously injured or that damage to your car is minor, having the police document the accident is critical, especially if someone else is at fault. 

A police report is a piece of vital evidence that can help you hold the other driver accountable. If another motorist suggests that you “work it out” on your own to avoid calling the police or making insurance claims, don’t. 

Do not forget to get the report number from the police before they leave. This number insures that you can acquire the police report for your accident when necessary.

Calling 911 can also ensure any injured parties get the immediate medical care they need.

 

EXCHANGE INFORMATION

It is also essential to gather insurance and contact information from any other drivers who were involved in the car accident. Usually, information that is necessary for the case gets collected by the investigating officer.

However, you may end up collecting the information yourself depending on the situation. Be sure to get their name, address, phone number, insurance policy information, and driver’s license and license plate numbers.

You could also use your phone to take pictures of the front and back of the other driver’s insurance card and driver’s license, for safe measure. Once you get this information, it is best not to discuss anything else with them.

This is important in cases involving commercial car accidents, as trucking companies may send insurance company representatives to the scene while you are still there.

Talk to Witnesses and take photos

Witnesses can be vital to proving fault in motor vehicle accident claims. Ask anyone who witnessed the car accident for their contact information and, if you can, get a statement about what they saw as well.

This kind of evidence can be notable in the instance of building a case for your accident claim. The more evidence you can provide from witnesses will give you much more of a chance to prove that you are not at fault.

Taking photo and video evidence also can help to prove another driver was at fault. Some drivers will even go to the extent of installing cameras in their cars for this very reason.

Even some companies equip most modern day commercial vehicles with dash cameras for insurance purposes and other liability concerns. If you are involved in a car accident with a commercial vehicle or transport, you could potentially request any footage from the commercial vehicle’s dash camera.

In this modern age, most people own a smartphone with a camera built in. This makes it easy to use your phone’s camera to take any videos or pictures at the scene of the car accident.

Be sure to take pictures of all four corners of all vehicles involved in the car accident, including the front and the rear. Document any other areas such as the interior of the vehicles (if permitted), any debris such as fluids, car parts, and glass, and road signs and traffic signals nearby.

Don’t stop there. You can also photograph road markings, damage to the road such as skid marks, visible injuries on yourself or your passengers, other individuals involved, and road hazards or obstructions.

Getting clear, focused shots is important for providing value to your claim. Blurry pictures that do no justice will not help you win your case if you seek compensation.

These pictures can serve as vital evidence for your attorney, as they represent your case.

seek medical attention

It’s important to seek medical care after an accident, even if you’re not in any pain or don’t have visible injuries. It is not uncommon for symptoms of whiplash, concussion, spinal injuries, soft tissue injuries, or internal bleeding to be apparent until hours or even days later.

A doctor can order diagnostic tests that detect fractures, brain injury or swelling, and other internal damage that could be life-threatening if left untreated. If you decide to pursue a car accident case, your medical records provide valuable documentation that can show the extent of your injuries and back up your claim.

inform your insurance company

Even if a car accident wasn’t your fault, it’s a good idea to contact your insurance company to let them know what happened. In no-fault states, you may have to file a claim with your own insurance company first.

Give your insurer a straightforward account of what happened and answer questions honestly, but do not admit fault or give any further information that isn’t specifically requested.

contact Pepper and Odom if you have been in a car accident

Speak with experienced Mississippi or Alabama injury attorney here at the law firm of Pepper & Odom if you or a loved one have suffered an injury. Call 601-202-1111 to reach our Jackson, Mississippi office or 205-250-1107 for our Birmingham, Alabama office today for a free initial phone consultation with one of our attorneys.