Q:What is the best way to prevent an accident?
A: Most accidents can be avoided by simply paying attention to your driving at all times and by obeying all traffic rules and posted speed limits. Being distracted by cell phone use, doing other things while your drive or talking to others in your car can make your risk much higher. Be extra careful and slow down while driving in bad weather. You should also never get behind the wheel of a car if you feel that you are too tired to drive and you should never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You should be cautious of other drivers that appear to be aggressive, drunk, or otherwise dangerous. Always be courteous of others and maintain an adequate following distance. Keep your vehicle in good repair by taking it in for regular maintenance checks, regularly testing the vehicle’s fluid levels, and immediately reporting any problems with your vehicle to a local car repair shop.
Q: Should I go to the doctor?
A: Possibly. Immediately following the accident, you should check to see whether you have sustained any injuries. Symptoms from an injury may not appear immediately and could start days to weeks after an accident. If you have any pain, stiffness or limitation on any activity following an accident you should be examined by a physician. If your injuries appear serious or if you are not sure of the extent of your injuries, you should immediately call 911 and go to the hospital. If you notice any pain, numbness or tingling, difficulty remembering, or other discomfort, contact a physician immediately.
Q: Should I contact the police?
A: Yes. You should contact the police immediately following an accident, even if the accident appears to be minor. If your vehicle sustains only minor damage or if you suffer injuries that are not apparent until hours after the accident, it is important that you have the accident on file to prove that the accident occurred and to demonstrate which party was at fault.
Q: What information should I record following an accident?
A: You should record the following information immediately after an auto accident:
• The location, date, and time of the accident
• All parties involved, including any witnesses to the accidents
• Description of the vehicles involved, including the make and model of each vehicle
• The injuries that you have sustained, including any minor injuries
• Insurance information for the other driver(s) involved in the accident
Recording this information will enable you to more accurately recall any details of your accident when the police arrive.
Q: Should I take pictures of the accident scene?
A: If you have a camera available at the accident scene, you should take photographs to document the accident, even if the police also take pictures. If you do not have a camera available at the scene, you should still take photographs of your vehicle after you leave the accident scene, to document the property damage that has been sustained.
Q: Should I consult an attorney?
A: If you have been injured in an accident, you should consider contacting an attorney who can answer any questions that you may have. If you later decide to pursue a claim against the party responsible for your accident, such an attorney can assist you in investigating the facts and law surrounding your case, as well as helping you determine what actions to take against the negligent party.
Q: Should I contact my insurance company?
A: Yes. It is advisable to contact your insurance company and initiate the claims process. You will need to provide your insurance carrier with all the information you have collected at the scene and a copy of the police report.