Being in an auto accident is often a frightening, overwhelming experience. Sometimes, in the aftermath of a collision, it can be hard to think straight. Our Columbia car accident lawyers believe that it's always in your best interest to be prepared by planning ahead, just in case. This post is designed to help you if you are involved in a car wreck
The first thing to do is assess how badly you, anyone traveling with you, or others involved may be hurt. Always put your physical safety first. The second is to call 911 and make sure you remain out of danger from surrounding traffic until help arrives.
After ensuring everyone's safety, the second step is to preserve evidence. The evidence in your case could be a number of different materials that demonstrate what happened before, during, and after the accident, as well as the injuries suffered. It will likely include transcripts from the 911 phone call, witness statements and photographs collected by the investigators and by you.
To preserve evidence and provide documentation for your auto accident, follow the steps listed below.
• Call 911
As soon as you safely can, call 911. Law enforcement officers will investigate the accident and write a report documenting their findings. They will examine the scene and interview witnesses. You have a right to a copy of the police report and should obtain one. Make your request to the traffic division of the agency responsible for investigating the accident.
• Get Driver, Passenger, and Witness Information
Without discussing the accident itself, get the name, addresses, and phone numbers for everyone involved. This includes the other drivers, passengers, and any witnesses. Ask for insurance information from the other driver as well. Most police agencies provide a form with this information at the accident scene. But to be on the safe side, try to get this information yourself. Start with witnesses who may not be able to wait for the police to arrive.
Do not admit fault or explain what you think happened. Sometimes we jump to conclusions when we are hurt or surprised by events. If someone else makes comments about the accident, write down these comments. Keep your memory clear by refraining from discussing the accident with anyone, except trained accident investigators or emergency medical personnel.
• Call a Car Accident Attorney
If you choose to call our office, we will send investigators to the scene of the accident to preserve evidence, interview witnesses, take pictures, sketch the accident scene, and make note of the position of the cars and damage to the cars.
Our investigators are trained to reconstruct an accident scene, and they know what information is essential in creating the most accurate reconstruction possible.
• Document the Scene of the Accident
While keeping yourself completely safe and out of harm's way, take pictures of the accident scene from as many angles as you can. Include pictures of the vehicles involved, the roadways, weather conditions, and any signs or signal lights to help document your car crash.
Jot down notes of your impressions, thoughts, and any comments others make regarding liability.
It might help to return the car accident scene the next day, or as soon as possible, to help jog your memory. While you are under the stress of your accident, it's possible that you might overlook or forget something important. Take photos of anything you think might have caused your accident, or that might have been a contributing factor (such as a non-functional traffic light or a lack of signage).
To show traffic patterns, take pictures at the same time on the same day of the week as when your accident occurred. Also, be sure that you photograph any damages to your car or other property.
• Document Your Physical and Mental Injuries as Well as Your Property Losses
To document your injuries, take multiple photographs and keep a journal. Be sure that you obtain documentation from your doctor for any medical attention you receive. Take pictures of any treatment (such as casts or splints). And keep all reports, discharge information, or other written materials from all of the medical practitioner who treat you: you may need this documentation later.
Even if you don't think your injuries are serious, it is important to document them. It is essential to be seen by a medical professional: your injuries may be worse than you think, and they might worsen still over time. Often, you won't feel the full impact of your injury iuntil 72 to 96 hours after a car wreck. It takes time for your adrenaline levels to return to normal, and for any significant swelling or stiffness to appear.
• Where to Get Help if You are Injured in Missouri Car Crash
If you can't call right away, call a lawyer as soon as you can after the accident. If you intend to consult with an attorney, you should refrain from talking about the accident to anyone besides the police officers and medical personnel involved (at least until you can have a consultation). For more information, please see our website.
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