The minutes after an accident are often overwhelming and confusing. But there are certain key things you must do in order to protect yourself and help your case. Taking pictures of the accident, noting the time and weather, and not signing your rights away are just a few things you can to do help yourself. If you wait too long, sometimes important evidence can be washed away or lost. So follow these steps as soon after the accident as you can.
Even if you haven’t been in an accident, keep a copy of these helpful tips with you for quick reference.
- Do immediately call for medical help if someone is injured.
- Do call the police. They will document the accident and gather facts for legal purposes. If you don’t call the police, it is your word against the other person’s.
- Do report the accident to your insurance agent as soon as possible.
- Do exchange information with the other parties involved, such as address and phone number. If it’s a car acccident get the license plate number; make, model and year of the vehicle; driver’s insurance information; car registration number; driver’s license number.
- Do get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses. Keep in mind, if it was a car accident, any passengers involved in the accident are NOT witnesses.
- Do keep a disposable camera handy, such as in your glove box, to take pictures of the accident, damage to the vehicle, and the area around the accident.
- Do collect any physical evidence that could have caused the accident.
- Do gather details from the accident: draw a diagram of the accident; note the date and time; the type of weather; the location of the accident—including any landmarks.
- Do call an attorney.
- Don’t panic. Remain calm and call for help.
- Don’t leave the scene of the accident.
- Don’t discuss the accident with anyone and blame anyone, including yourself.
- Don’t forget to document and take pictures of all damages, especially your vehicle, if in a car accident.
- Don’t wait. The longer you wait to get legal advice, the harder it is to prove your case.
- Don’t speak to anybody from the at-fault person’s insurance company before consulting a lawyer. If you give a statement, it may be used against you in the future.
- Don’t sign any papers given to you by an insurance company or agree to a settlement of your case until you get legal advice.
These are just some of the things you can do to protect yourself and your rights. The accident attorneys at Colombo Law, represent clients throughout West Virginia. Our firm offers free initial consultations on motorcycle accident cases.