No one expects to experience a car accident on any given day, which means that when accidents do occur, the victims are often at a loss for what to do afterwards or how to respond. Unfortunately, responding well in the moment is often crucial to victims' well-being after an accident, and may seriously impact resulting investigations and injury claims.
The first hours after a car accident are potentially valuable or costly for the victims, depending on their responses and the steps they take to protect themselves in the aftermath. If you recently experienced a car accident, you should pay careful attention and document what you can at the scene, while also paying attention to any indications that you suffered injuries.
Many victims find that it is wise to call their attorneys to the scene of an accident so that they can focus on their own needs. This is often very useful, allowing the victim to avoid saying or doing anything that may alter the outcome of a future claim negatively.
Collecting evidence at the scene
Whether you collect your own evidence or ask an attorney to collect evidence on your behalf, it is important to document everything you can about the accident before road crews arrive to clean it up. Once the accident gets cleared away, there is often little evidence to gather, and this may stretch out your claim process or may make it difficult for you to prove your guilt or innocence.
An experienced attorney understands which evidence to gather and how to begin constructing a narrative of the accident with the evidence on hand. He or she may gather photographic and video evidence, as well as written and recorded statements from witnesses and other parties in the accident. An attorney may also approach nearby businesses or residences to ask if they have potentially useful security footage. These are typically forms of evidence that anyone can collect on their own, but an attorney understands how to build a claim effectively, and can do this while the victim focuses on his or her needs and concerns.
Protecting your rights at the scene
It is well-known by now that car accidents in the United States can get litigious quickly, especially if either party suffers injuries. Additionally, these experiences can bring up surprising emotional reactions, making it dangerous for victims in an accident to communicate directly.
An attorney who comes out to the scene of an accident acts as an intermediary for a victim, communicating with the other parties without the victim saying anything that may complicate matters.
Whether you choose to call an attorney to the scene of a car accident or not, be sure to watch what you say. Even something as simple as saying "I'm sorry about the accident," may translate as an acceptance of liability to the other party, so remain mindful to stay quiet and choose your words carefully.
Even if you do not think that you have any injuries, it is always wise to follow a car accident with visit to a doctor for a full medical examination. This helps identify delayed pain injuries and may even save your life. Take care to treat a car accident and the resulting claim with the attention and respect that you deserve.