BANG! You’ve just been involved in a car accident. You never saw it coming. As you regroup, you realize that the accident must have been relatively minor. You are able to move your body, and your car doesn’t appear to be mangled beyond recognition. If it were, you’d likely be waiting for paramedics at best, or fighting for your life at worst. Below are some dos and don’t’s that any Maryland auto accident attorney would suggest.
DO count your blessings. Let out a sigh of relief. Your accident could have been considerably worse than it was.
DO remain at the scene, even if there appears to be barely any damage to the vehicles. If possible, move your vehicle from the main travel lanes to reduce the risk of further collisions or injury.
DO call the police so that they can prepare an accident report, no matter how minor the accident appears. It is important to call the police as early as possible so that they can respond as quickly as possible, and so that you can take other measures in the meantime.
DO NOT assume everyone is alright. Even minor traffic accidents can cause potentially serious injuries, some of which may not appear until several days after the accident. As a precaution, make plans for yourself and your passengers to seek medical attention, even if not emergency treatment.
DO NOT make any statements as to fault or the cause of the accident. A District of Columbia, Maryland, or Northern Virginia car accident lawyer would explain that even if you are certain you were not at fault, a court of law may eventually disagree. Statements that you make at the accident scene potentially can be used as evidence against you if the case proceeds to trial.
DO take steps to document the accident. Take photos with your cell phone if you have one. Take notes if you are able. The notes you take at the accident scene can be extremely valuable later. Your memory of the circumstances of the accident is freshest immediately after the accident. You may not realize that you will be unable to recall some of the more minor details even a day or two later. Some important things to note are the time of day, weather, traffic congestion, the main and intersecting roads names, and the approximate rate of speed of each vehicle. No details are too minor.
DO exchange all relevant information with the other driver. This information should include full legal names, addresses, phone numbers, license plate numbers, driver’s license numbers, insurance company names, and policy numbers. If the other driver does not intend to remain at the scene, try to get as much information about the driver as you can before he or she leaves, like the license plate number.
After you’ve taken all these precautions and considered medical attention, your next call should be to a Maryland personal injury lawyer, who can help you make sense of all the information you’ve collected and ensure that your rights are protected. You may be entitled to compensation, but only if you act calmly and rationally at the accident scene.