What Should I Do After An Auto Accident?

An auto accident only takes a split second to happen. However, in that instant your life can change forever. Even an accident at low speeds can cause a serious, long-lasting injury. Many people are unsure of what steps to take in the immediate aftermath and in the weeks following an accident. The following information is meant to serve as a general guide for what to do after an auto accident. It is important to remember that everyone's case is unique and you should always seek qualified legal advice before making a decision that will impact your future.

Seek Medical Attention

Obviously, if you are seriously hurt at the scene it is of the utmost important to get emergency medical attention. Even if you are not obviously hurt or if you feel that you are merely "a bit banged up," it is important to still seek medical help. Some injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, soft tissue injuries, or back and neck injuries may not make themselves readily apparent until hours, days or even weeks following an accident. It is important to develop a full accounting of your injuries as soon as possible so that it is easier to establish the crash as the cause of those injuries.

Gather Information

Even if you are involved in a minor fender bender, it is important to pull off to the side of the road when it's safe to do so and exchange information with other drivers involved in the collision. Names, phone numbers and insurance information are all important. If the other driver is not the owner of the vehicle, you should get that information as well.

Write down everything that is visible at the scene, including license numbers, year/make/model of involved vehicles and any readily apparent vehicle damage. This can be invaluable when trying to recall pertinent details of the crash.

It is also important to gather information from any willing witnesses, including other drivers and pedestrians. Be sure to get their contact information so that your insurance provider can follow up with any questions. However, do not plead or otherwise attempt to force information out of passerby.

Preserve Evidence

If you are able, photograph the scene of the accident, including damage to the involved vehicles, road conditions, signage, skid marks and anything else that is relevant to the crash. Ensure that any damaged portion of your car is preserved if you seek auto repair. It can also be helpful to hold onto any damaged personal items, such as broken eyeglasses or torn pieces of clothing.

Do Not Give A Statement To The Other Driver's Insurance Provider

You will likely be contacted by the other driver's insurance carrier. Politely refuse to speak with them until you have sought advice from a lawyer. Insurance adjusters are trying to protect their employer's bottom line. They are not in the business of giving you the deal that you need to fully account for your damages. Above all, you do not accept a settlement offer without speaking with an attorney. Doing so will likely prohibit from pursuing any further claims for compensation.

Always Contact A Lawyer

The most important thing to do after you have sought medical attention is to contact a lawyer. At the North Carolina law firm of Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP, our attorneys have extensive experience handling all types of personal injury claims. Contact us online, or call 866-965-2403 to schedule an appointment to discuss your case. From our Wrightsville Beach offices, we represent people in Wilmington, Fayetteville and across the state.