Knowing what to do and not do when you have a car accident is crucial. If you haven’t been in a car accident, study the information below so you’re prepared for the unfortunate situation. If you’ve just been in an accident, follow the steps in this car crash checklist to protect yourself if you need to file a personal injury claim.
Make a note of Maryland’s car accident lawyers Zirkin & Schmerling. You can call them at 410-753-4611 any time, day or night, for a free consultation.
Car Crash Accident Checklist
Following these steps in our car crash checklist helps ensure your safety and the safety of others involved in a car accident. Here’s what to do if you’re in a car accident:
- Stop the car: You want to make sure to minimize the damage of an out-of-control vehicle. As soon as you can stop the car, you should do so.
- Move to safety: If you are in the middle of the road or blocking traffic in either direction, try to move your car out of the way. If you are injured and can’t move, put on your emergency flashers and go to step 4 immediately – call 911.
- Help others: If you can move, help assess other injured passengers so when you call 911, you can give an accurate account of the situation. If there are uninjured passengers, help them get to safety. Don’t move anyone with a serious injury. Wait for the paramedics. Doing so could cause more pain and damage.
- Call 911/Police: This step not only starts the documentation of your accident but also is the catalyst for getting an ambulance and the police out immediately.
- Get information: You need to get information from all the other drivers. Make sure to obtain their full names, phone numbers, license plate numbers, insurance information, and addresses. In addition to other drivers involved in the accident, you want to get contact information for all witnesses. Be sure to get their names, email addresses, and phone numbers. It’s also best to ask them to stay and talk with the police. Getting witness statements as part of the police report helps solidify the evidence of what happened.
- Gather evidence: If you can move, it’s best to document the accident. This is not just important in case you need to file a personal injury claim in the future. It is a safeguard to protect yourself in case others file a claim against you.
- Take pictures and videos of your damaged vehicle, all injuries, and other cars involved, all from different angles.
- Take Notes: As soon as you are able, write down everything you remember about the accident – the events leading up to it, plus what happened during and after the car accident.
- Seek medical attention: Just because you’ve been able to walk around to help others, speak with the police, and gather evidence doesn’t mean you don’t need medical attention. Please put yourself first and go to the hospital or doctor to be checked out immediately. Internal bleeding, neck and spine compression, and other traumatic injuries could be happening behind the scenes and can become worse if you wait to get help. Sometimes, you feel okay due to your body being in shock. Do yourself a favor and be present with medical professionals when you come out of that shock.
- Seek legal counsel: When you’re in an accident, you are likely not considering compensation. But once the medical bills start piling up, you lose more days of work, and you experience the pain and suffering that can accompany a car accident, you might realize you need legal help. It’s best to reach out to a skilled personal injury attorney soon after your accident because they can help you navigate the nagging calls from the other insurance companies, gather evidence by obtaining police reports and witness statements, and stand up for you when it’s time to request compensation that you deserve. Plus, they know the law.
- Contact Maryland’s Car Accident Attorneys at Zirkin & Schmerling for a free consultation.
- Call your insurance company: When you’re in an accident, you should contact your own insurance company to report it. Give them an overview of what happened. If they want you to give a recorded statement, politely decline and refer them to your attorney.
Here’s What Not to Do In a Car Accident
Don’t admit fault.
Fault is determined by Maryland law. Don’t get out of your car and start telling people the accident was your fault. First of all, it might not be accurate according to the law. Second, your statements could be used against you. When talking to the police, just stick to the facts and tell them everything that happened. Who’s at fault will be determined later.
No matter how minor the accident appears to be, don’t leave the scene. Wait for the police to arrive and give a statement to them.
Don’t talk to anyone.
Besides asking people if they are okay or moving the uninjured to safety, don’t talk to anyone about the accident other than the police. Anything you say can be used against you.
Stay off social media.
Refrain from saying anything about your car accident on social media. That includes all platforms. Don’t post pictures or locations or any details anywhere online.
Don’t talk to other insurance companies.
The purpose of insurance adjusters from the at-fault or other parties is to get you to settle your case with the lowest possible amount of money. Do not give them details of the accident, do not get on a recorded call with them, and do not sign anything or cash any checks.
Protect Yourself with Maryland’s Car Accident Lawyers
If you feel overwhelmed by all the details, use this car crash checklist and know that working with an attorney as soon as possible after a car accident is in your best interest. They will help you through all of this while you recover from your injuries and the trauma of being in an accident.
The lawyers at Zirkin & Schmerling have experience with cases just like yours in the Maryland area and can provide you peace of mind as you navigate your new normal. If you are wondering “What do I do in case of a car accident?” call us right away at 410-753-4611 or contact us for a free consultation.