Madison Car Accident Attorneys’ Checklist For Accident Victims
Madison Car Accident Attorneys’ Checklist For Accident VictimsMadison car accident attorneys talk to people every day who have recently been in a car accident. So often, they are confused, upset, and under-prepared to stand up for their rights as victims, or to defend themselves against unreasonable claims. No one wants to think he is going to get in a car accident, but odds are, everyone who drives or rides in a car will be involved in an accident at some point. With a little planning and preparation, you can make a bad situation a little easier on yourself.
Car Accident Checklist
- Be Prepared – Chances are, your phone has a built-in camera. If it does not, be sure you keep a disposable camera in your car. Other must-have emergency items include a flashlight; some type of emergency markers like reflective triangles, cones, or flares; and a pen and paper. Another key item is an accident reporting form. Your auto insurance company may have their own version on their website, or you can use this form from the DMV. Whichever form you use, keep a blank printed copy in the glove box, so you can fill it in on site. Note that you only have to file the DMV report under certain circumstances, but the form can be a useful tool for you to gather information, even if you will not be filing the form with the DMV.
- Keep Cool, Stay Safe – It is understandable if your car just got hit and you feel like yelling at someone. Do not do it. Stay calm. Are you and the other people involved in a safe place? If not, get as many people as possible to safety before doing anything else. If your accident takes place on a high-speed road or freeway, it may not be possible to get everyone safely out of traffic. In that case, the safest place to be is in the car with a seatbelt on.
- Deal With Injuries – If someone is injured, you need to weigh the risk of further injury caused by moving them against the risk of injury from other vehicles, leaking fluids, fire, or debris. Only move injured people if there is significant danger to them in their current location. If possible, get a witness to call for emergency services, because they often want the caller to stay on the line until help arrives, and if you are not injured, you have other important things to do.
- Defend Your Space And Clear The Roadway – Get out your flares, triangles, or cones, and divert other traffic from the accident area, at least 50 yards behind any lane blockage; 100 yards is even better. If the vehicles involved in the accident are movable, it is almost always the best choice to get them out of traffic lanes as quickly as possible. There are a couple of very important exceptions. If any vehicle is leaking fluid, you should not attempt to start it until the fluid is positively identified. This could cause a fire or explosion. If the damaged vehicles are providing protection from injured people lying on the ground, leave the vehicles in place until emergency services arrive.
- Take Photos And Exchange Information – If you are injured, ask someone to do this for you. Photograph all of the vehicles involved in the accident, the license plate, their drivers, and their passengers. If it is safe to do so, photograph each vehicle all the way around. Next, photograph any witnesses, their cars, and their license plates. If it is safe, you should also photograph the roadway and anything that contributed to the accident (debris, pothole, loose animal, etc.). Once you have your photos, exchange information with the other drivers, and ask the witnesses for their contact information. Be extremely careful what you say during this process. Do not say anything to either admit or place blame. Say as little as possible until it is time to give your report to law enforcement.
- Make Reports – if the accident is minor and there are no reported injuries, law enforcement may not respond. Even if they do not respond, it is a good idea to go to the appropriate precinct the same day and make a report of the accident. If there is more than $1,000 in damage to any vehicle, if anyone is injured, or if any government property is damaged in the accident, you need to call the police and file a report with the DMV. In any event, you should make a report to your insurance company within 24 hours. This protects you in case another party in the accident later claims injury, or greater damage to their vehicle than originally thought.