No one gets into their vehicle expecting to be involved in a car accident. These incidents are always unexpected, but they do occur every day. An auto accident is cited in the state of Alabama about every four minutes. We all are at risk of being involved in an auto accident every time we cruise out of our driveway, so we should be prepared for the unexpected.
Car accidents are scary, stressful events that at the least mess up our laid ahead plans. A bad collision can be extremely frightening if someone is injured. Immediately following a crash one maybe in shock or frazzled from the stressful scene. It can be hard to focus, yet it is important to be prepared and make smart decisions to protect your health and legal interests. Here at Vance Law Firm in Montgomery, we recognize the importance of being well prepared. We are always making the right preparations to present strong cases on behalf of our clients throughout the city of Montgomery and the state of Alabama. We have even put together a guide explaining what to do in the event of an auto accident. This post accident list should help you make the right decisions and take the right steps following an accident.
Remember to always be prepared. Keep a copy of your insurance cards (car and medical insurance), and be sure to keep your car’s registration document inside your glove box. Also, keep emergency contact numbers and medical information such as drug allergies or medical conditions for you and your family members. If you have AAA or another roadside assistance service keep that information handy as well. It’s a good idea to keep a pen and a small notepad to be able to write down names, numbers, and details of the accident. Depending on where the accident occurs or the damage done to the car it may be a good idea to keep a spare cell phone charger in your car to be able to communicate until assistance arrives.
Packing a car emergency kit could really come in handy in the event of an accident. This car kit should include light sticks, flashlights, extra batteries, hazard markers, water, jumper cables, a mini first aid kit, an umbrella, gloves, hand sanitizers, and a few non-perishable snacks. Keeping a spare blanket or jacket in your car may help if stuck in cold or rainy weather.
Drivers in Montgomery, Alabama have a legal obligation to stop at an accident scene they are involved in, causing damage to another car or injuring another individual. They are required to give reasonable assistance to anyone hurt or injured in the accident. This includes calling 911 or other emergency assistance. Be cautious about moving an injured person from a vehicle unless it is in flames or the person is in immediate danger. Anyone who injures another individual or causes death due to an auto accident is required to notify the local police or sheriff’s office as soon as possible. Always have the police write a formal report of the accident because you never know how much damage or how serious injuries can really be immediately following an accident. Contact the police even if the other driver openly admits the wreck was their fault. Some motorists will try to talk you out of calling the authorities, but call them anyway. Failure to call the police could hurt your chances at compensation for the accident. The accident report written by the police will be helpful when you make your insurance claim and can help your lawyer if necessary.
It is important to try your best to prevent anyone else from getting hurt right after an accident. For example, if your car is getting out into an intersection and it’s still drivable, pull it to the side of the road. If it is safe to leave your car where it then does so to help the police get a clear idea of what actually occurred. Use your hazard markers or flares to help alert other drivers of the accident as they are approaching. Keep yourself and the scene as safe as possible while waiting on the authorities.
In the state of Alabama, it is required by law that a driver involved in an accident that causes damages or injuries must provide their name, address, driver’s license and registration numbers. Be sure to check that the name of the driver matches that on their insurance card and if not be sure to clarify the relationship. Remember to only exchange information with the other motorists and do not discuss details of the accident. Try to avoid reassuring the other driver that you are alright, even if you do not feel injured. Injuries can worsen after a day or two and sometimes take longer to appear. Do not admit fault even if you feel like the accident could have been your fault. If the other driver involved tries to leave the accident scene before the police arrive, get their license plate number, model, and make of their vehicle. If there were outside witnesses, get their contact information. Having others that witnessed the accident will help strengthen a case for compensation.
We all have smartphones now, so remember to take photos showing the position of the cars involved, damages, license plate numbers, skid marks, and injuries sustained by you or the others involved. These photos can help serve as a record of the incident. If you end up filing a car accident claim, the more supporting evidence the better case you will have.
Your insurance company should be contacted within twenty-four hours of the accident. Even if the accident is not your fault it is important to notify your insurer of the accident. Your insurance company will let you know where to take your vehicle and what steps to take next. If the other driver’s insurance company contacts you, remember you are not obligated to speak to them. Avoid giving any recorded statements or signing anything presented by them. Your statements and responses to their insurance company could be used against your case later.
Never bypass a doctor’s examination after an accident, even if you feel fine. You may have sustained an injury that does not show immediate symptoms. Doctors can diagnose injuries like internal bleeding and brain injuries that may not be visible yet. Also, obtaining a medical record from a doctor is another piece of the paper trail that your attorneys and insurance providers will use to assess the accident.
Just as obtaining a medical record after an accident is important, so is gaining a copy of the police report. If the police at the scene of the accident do not offer a copy of the report, just kindly ask for one and they will provide you with a copy. The police report can really come in handy for your lawyer when building a case or filing a claim.
Car accidents can be serious legal matters. It is extremely important to have a competent, knowledgeable car accident attorney to look over the specifics of your accident if you were injured by another motorist. Our experienced Montgomery lawyers at Vance Law Firm, have handled numerous cases similar to yours and should be able to estimate a general value for your claim. We understand all that goes into these types of cases and are willing to fight for your rights and gain you the proper compensation. Please call our office and set up a consultation with one of our professional attorneys.