While I hope you will never be in a crash, the statistics are against you. Here are some things you should do if you are. Consider cutting this article out and keeping it in your car. Your memory of these tips will likely fail you in the heat of the moment.
- Call 911 - Always call 911 to report the crash, no matter how minor it may appear to be, how full your calendar is or how sweetly the other driver pleads with you not to. Always call 911. No exceptions. Your goal is not to get anyone in trouble, but rather to document where, when, why and that a crash occurred. Perhaps nothing will come of the crash aftermath and potential injuries. Still, it is better to get a crash report made that you did not need than it is to need a crash report that you never had made. And have the 911 operator send a paramedic if anyone in the crash has any pains.
- Crash scene evidence - Next, begin to gather evidence. Get the names and phone numbers of all people at the scene, as well as the other driver's plate and driver's license number. Why bother if the police are coming? Because people often leave before the police arrive, even the other driver. Take photographs of the damage to the cars, the lighting and weather conditions, the scene in general and the location of the cars.
- Get medical treatment - If you feel anything other than perfectly normal, get immediate medical treatment - from the paramedics you called to the scene, at the emergency room or at an acute-care facility. Crash victims often experience subtle pains at the scene, when their adrenaline is flowing, that become excruciating pains as they struggle to sleep that night. Medical attention helps to provide relief and to document problems.
- Call insurance companies - As soon as you are in a physical, mental and emotional position to do so, call both of the insurance companies - yours and the insurer for the other car. Both companies need to establish claims files, and any delay can cause needless problems later.
- Contact a lawyer - Contacting a lawyer is last on this list because it is the least urgent of these tasks. Still, it is wise to meet with an experienced injury lawyer to discuss your case. Consultations are free; there is no obligation to hire the lawyer; and the lawyer gets paid only out of a recovery. Learn what your rights are before you lose the chance to preserve them.
Blane McCarthy can be reached at 391-0091 or bgm@bgmccarthy. com.