You were driving through an intersection near your home, which is unfortunately one of the most dangerous intersections in Austin, when the worst happened: a negligent driver ran through a red light and hit the passenger side of your vehicle. You don’t think you’re injured, but you’re shaken, confused, and unsure of what to do. The steps you take in the next few minutes, however, could impact you for the rest of your life.
The first instinct for many car accident victims is to leave the scene and go home. However, if you flee the scene of the accident, even if it wasn’t your fault, you could ruin your chances of getting compensation that can pay for your current and future medical bills and any lost income that is related to the accident. Instead, perform the following actions and you increase your chances of receiving the justice you deserve.
Call the Police
You may not think the accident warrants the involvement of police, but calling them after the collision takes place is in your best interest. An officer will come to the scene and fill out a report that documents the details of the collision, which may help, should you pursue legal action. Having a police officer present can also help if the other driver is intoxicated. This could prevent the other driver from leaving while still intoxicated and putting others on the road in danger, and can also help you prove that you were innocent in the accident.
If possible, collect information from the other driver involved in the accident. Ask to see his license and insurance information, and write down his name, address, insurance provider, and the phone number for the insurer. You’ll also want to ask the other driver for his phone number. Before he leaves, write down the make and model of the vehicle, in addition to his plate number. Lastly, record the date and time the accident took place, as well as the name of the street or intersection where it occurred.
Assess the Damage
Most cell phones today are equipped with cameras, which are beneficial when you are involved in an accident. Take pictures of the damage on both vehicles. Take your time when getting the images and ensure that they are clear. These pictures may be used as evidence should you take your case to court.
Look for Witnesses
In many car accident claims, it is one driver’s word against the other’s. As you may imagine, this can turn into a problem if both drivers think the other is to blame. When witnesses are involved, however, it is usually easier to decipher what actually happened. Sometimes other drivers stop when an accident takes place to offer help. Talk to the drivers and find out if they would be willing to serve as witnesses for you. Additionally, ask anyone who may have been standing on the sidewalk and saw the crash take place, or anyone else who watched the event unfold. If they agree, obtain names, phone numbers, and addresses. Having unbiased accounts of what actually happened during the accident may help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Seek Medical Attention
If you or someone else in your vehicle is critically injured, you should call 911 immediately. Get a ride to the emergency room to be treated for your injuries. Make sure to tell him or her that you were involved in an accident. The doctor will start a medical report for you, which is helpful if you make a claim against the other driver. Even if you feel fine, you should still seek medical attention, as some injuries—like whiplash—may not show up until a few days later. If you wait until then, you may further injure yourself or experience unnecessary pain. Follow your doctor’s orders for the best chances at making a recovery.
Make a Claim
After you receive the treatment you need, the next step you should take is to contact an attorney. A personal injury lawyer can advise you on what to say to your insurance company when you make a claim to protect yourself and increase your chances of receiving the settlement amount that you are entitled to.
The attorneys of Wayne Wright have helped many accident victims in the Austin area get the compensation they deserved and may be able to do the same for you. Speak to a legal professional about your situation by calling 800-237-3334.