Who Should I Call After An Accident?
For the final installment of our “Auto Accident Survival Guide” series we are talking about who to call after an accident. If you haven't read our previous three posts in this series, check them out here.
As you know, these posts are not a substitute for speaking directly with an attorney and do not create an attorney/client relationship between us. You should not rely on this post, or any of the others, for legal advice in handling a personal injury claim on your own. Each accident has its own unique set of circumstances and it would be improper to give out legal advice via blog without knowing the specific circumstances of your case. There is no substitute for speaking directly with an attorney about your specific situation. I recommend you contact us if you'd like to discuss your case with an attorney.
Call the Police.
The first few moments following a car accident can be bewildering. You aren't sure what just happened, where you are, if you or your passengers are ok. Once you establish that everyone is all right, the first call you should make after an auto accident is to the police. Even if the accident does not seem severe and everyone seems to be okay, it is best to get a record of what happened and who was involved.
Our firm gets many calls from people who did not get the other driver's insurance information. For one reason or another they only exchanged names and numbers, or did not exchange any information at all. They later find out that their car is more badly damaged and they are in more pain than they originally realized and now that other driver will not return their calls or texts. Sadly, without any insurance information there is not much attorneys can do to help personal injury victims.
Another good reason to call the police is so the investigation into the accident can begin. Police will take statements from the drivers involved in the accident and any witnesses that are available. They may also issue a determination of fault for the accident, which can help your personal injury claim if the other driver's insurance tries to dispute liability later.
The police will also make sure everyone at the scene is safe on the roadway while exchanging information. They will direct traffic around the vehicles and help move them off the road if necessary.
Call a Doctor.
The next call you should make is to a doctor or EMS. This depends on the severity of injuries at the scene of the accident. I want to be clear on this part that I am NOT a doctor or medical professional and not giving out medical advice. This part of the blog is more or less common sense. If people are obviously seriously injured in an accident it's a good idea to call 911 and request an ambulance as well as police come to the scene. If everyone seems to be walking and talking then you may not need to make that call from the scene of the accident.
Every accident is different; use your best judgment in deciding whether or not an ambulance is needed. If you are seemingly fine immediately after an accident and you can safely check on your passengers and those in the other vehicles, that is a good idea – one of them may need an ambulance even if you do not.
Many clients call our firm a few days after the accident and tell us that pain, soreness or stiffness has now set in. This is extremely common. At the scene of an accident your adrenaline is high and you are trying to process what just occurred. Many people do not stop to take stock of their physical symptoms until a day or two after an accident when the pain sets in. You should see a doctor at that point. Soreness, stiffness, numbness, radiating pain can sometimes be indicators of more severe injuries than muscle spasms. You wont know if this is the case until you see a doctor.
Call a Lawyer.
A lawyer is generally not someone you need to call from the scene of the accident. There are more important calls to make at that time. However, after an accident, once you are home it is a good idea to consult with a lawyer. Why? To discuss your options and protect any claims you may have.
When calling a lawyer it is a good idea to have the accident information ready in front of you. Some of the basics questions you will be asked are; How, when and where did the accident happen? Did the police come to the scene? What is your insurance policy information? What is the other driver's insurance policy information? Were you injured in the accident?
Hiring a personal injury attorney can take a lot of stress off of you following an accident. Personal injury law firms can handle setting up claims, requesting police reports, scheduling recorded statements with insurance companies, speaking to adjusters, gathering evidence and many more tasks that can be stressful to handle immediately following an accident.
So there you go, the three most important calls to make after a car accident are to the police, doctor and lawyer. No one wants to be involved in an auto accident, but if you are, making these three calls as soon as possible can save you time, money and stress in the long run.
If you have questions about what your options are following a car accident, don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. Our office is happy to discuss your accident and your options going forward.