Car accidents are extremely frightening, even if you have suffered only minor injuries or just property damage. It can be difficult to think straight or logically after an accident, and that is completely understandable. However, there are a few things that you should do right after a car accident if you are physically able to do so. Committing these steps to memory will help you if you are hurt in a car accident. You can also print them out and keep them in your glove box as a handy reference.
- Never leave the scene of an accident.
Massachusetts law requires that you report an accident that involves damages of more than $1,000 or if anyone is hurt or killed. Failing to make this report can result in a charge that could result in the loss of your license. If you leave the scene of an accident without talking to the other party involved, you could face this same charge as well.
- Ensure that you and the other driver and passengers are unharmed.
Your health and safety is the most important thing you want to think about after an accident. Offer aid to others if you can, even if that just means calling the police or 911.
- Call the police.
Even if everyone is unharmed, it is still a good idea to call the police. The police will create a report of the incident that may be helpful later if you choose to bring a personal injury case.
- Exchange information with the other driver.
Exchanging information with the other driver is not only polite, it can help you gain valuable knowledge about the driver and his or her insurance company. You should collect the following information:
- Phone numbers
- Insurance information
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
Obtain contact information for the passengers as well. Be polite and helpful, but never admit fault or discuss who was at fault after an accident. Statements where you apologize or admit to not paying attention can come back to haunt you in a personal injury case. You should also never admit to breaking a traffic law such as running a light, missing a stop sign, texting, or speeding. It is better to just avoid the subject if at all possible.
- Talk to witnesses.
If anyone other than the driver and passengers saw the accident, it is best to ask them what they saw and see if you can get their contact information as well. These individuals may be very helpful to your personal injury case.
- Inform your insurance company.
You should always call your insurance company as soon as you can after an accident. This will get the claims process going and will help you get compensation faster in many cases.
Dealing with the Aftermath: Insurance Companies and Attorneys
If you speak the other side’s insurance company, choose your words carefully. You do not want to accidentally admit to anything. In fact, you should consider talking to a personal injury attorney before speaking with another insurance company.
If you choose to assert a personal injury claim for your injuries, then you may need to act quickly. Massachusetts has a three-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims. That means that you have three years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit. Getting ready to file can take a significant amount of time, so contacting a lawyer soon after you are hurt in a car accident is a good idea. Jim Glaser can speak with you about your potential claim. Call 781-689-2277 to set up a free consultation.