Unless you’re a demolition derby driver, no one leaves the house in the morning expecting to be involved in a car accident. Automobile accidents are scary, costly and often involve time away from work and family dealing with automobile repairs, liability issues, and insurance claims. In the worst case scenarios, automobile accidents can lead to serious injuries and disabilities, including traumatic brain injuries, painful long-term disabilities, and even death.
Unfortunately, if you are a driver, it’s extremely likely that you’ll be involved in at least one automobile accident in your lifetime. Statistics suggest that the average driver will have three to four accidents during their driving years, and file a claim after a collision once every 18 years. Not exactly reassuring! No matter how carefully you drive or how safe your vehicle is, you won’t be able to prevent the careless actions of other drivers or predict hazardous road conditions that can cause a car accident. Some of the most common causes of car accidents are distracted driving, driving too fast, drivers who do not follow right-of-way rules, drivers who ignore traffic signals and stop signs or who drive on the wrong side of the road.
Our Maine attorneys know that car accidents are an unfortunate and dangerous fact of life. We also believe that when it comes to car accidents, to be forewarned is to forearmed. You should know exactly how to handle yourself should an accident occur, especially if there is a personal injury involved. Here are some tips from our experienced Maine car accident attorneys on what you should and should not do following an automobile accident.
What To Do After A Car Accident-STOP
First and foremost, although you may feel rattled, scared or even angry after a car accident, the very first thing you should do after a car accident is STOP. Breathe, calm down as best you can and assess your condition. Make sure everyone at the scene is safe. Call 911 if there are serious injuries or if you or anyone else requires immediate medical attention. Move to a safe place while you wait for the police to arrive so that you don’t risk further injury from other motorists.
Remember, whether your accident was a minor fender bender or a major collision involving serious injuries, you must pull over and exchange information with the parties involved. According to Maine law, if you are involved in a car accident that involves a personal injury, or if there was damage to the vehicles or property exceeding $1,000, you must contact police to file a report. If there is any doubt about the amount of damage incurred in a car accident, it’s always a good idea to call the police. If your accident involved personal injuries, it’s also a good idea to contact a Maine car accident attorney who can help you deal with your insurance company and ensure that you’ll receive fair compensation for your injuries.
What To Do After A Car Accident- Stay Safe and Call for Help
Remember; never leave the scene of an accident, even if you think the accident was minor or no one was injured. If you or someone in another vehicle has been seriously injured, call 911. If you don’t suspect any serious injuries, call the non-emergency police number to report your accident, and wait for them to arrive to make a police report. NEVER attempt to move a seriously injured individual unless they are in grave danger of sustaining further injuries. If your vehicle is blocking traffic, try to move it safely to the side of the road while you wait for the police. Turn on your emergency lights or set up flares to ensure that you are visible to passing motorists.
What To Do After A Car Accident- Exchange Information and Stay Calm
No matter what happens in the aftermath of an accident, it won’t help anything if you panic, get angry at the other driver or lose your cool. To the best of your ability, tell the police officers exactly what happened. Do not speculate or guess about the accident or exaggerate. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so. Answer truthfully, but remember that anything you say may be recorded or be admissible. Don’t try to make the other driver feel better by saying the accident was your fault if it wasn’t.
The police officer who responds to your accident will typically record the following information, but it’s a good idea to get this vital information from the individuals involved in an accident yourself if possible:
- Name, address, driver’s license number
- Insurance Information (Check to see if this matches their driver’s license information. If not, find out how the individual is related to the insurance holder.)
- License plate number
- Make/model/year of vehicle
- Description of damage to the vehicle (It’s a good idea to take pictures of damage if possible with a disposable or cell phone camera.)
- If there were witnesses to the accident, get their names and contact information if possible.
What To Do After An Accident- Seek Medical Attention
If you were injured in an automobile accident, it’s extremely important to seek appropriate medical attention immediately after your accident. It is possible to sustain injuries in an auto crash even when there is little to no damage to your vehicle. Never lie or exaggerate about your symptoms following an accident. But if you are experiencing pain after an automobile accident, do not brush off your symptoms as a simple neck ache or sprain, or minimize your symptoms when you visit your doctor. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health, and you should not assume any physical symptoms or pain after a car accident will magically go away. The physical force involved in car accidents, even slow speed/minor car accidents, can be enough to cause serious and long-lasting injuries to your body. Sometimes those injuries don’t show up on conventional scans or x-rays, but they can show up and affect your health well being for many years after your accident.
It’s important to see a medical professional to truthfully and accurately document your complaints and symptoms. Sometimes, even medical professionals may dismiss a patient’s symptoms after a car accident. If this happens to you, remain calm and insist that they record your symptoms. You may want to see another medical professional for a second opinion. It’s always wise to call a Maine car accident attorney in cases like these. You are the only person who knows what it feels like to live in your body, and if you are experiencing pain as a result of an auto crash, it should not be dismissed or downplayed by anyone, including medical professionals or insurance companies.
What To Do After A Car Accident-Call A Maine Car Accident Attorney
Insurance companies often try to pay as little money as possible after an automobile accident. That’s why it is wise to contact an experienced Maine car accident attorney after your accident. Call the Maine car accident attorneys at Hardy, Wolf and Downing BEFORE you speak to your insurance company. This move alone can often DOUBLE the size of your settlement. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Hardy, Wolf and Downing know exactly how to deal with insurance companies after car accidents, and can help you get the compensation for your injuries that you deserve rather than the lowest amount the insurance company wants to pay. Choosing the right Maine car accident attorney can mean the difference between getting a fair settlement, or being pushed around by an aggressive, unfair insurance company claims representative or attorney who would rather protect the company’s bottom line rather than your long-term health and well being.
We provide our blog as a service to our clients. They are meant to be purely informational. If you or a loved one has been in an accident and would like a free consultation with a personal injury attorney, please call our firm today at 1-800-INJURED to start understanding your legal rights.