If you are in any kind of car accident, there are a number of steps that you should take immediately to protect yourself at the scene and your interests if you later file a personal injury claim.
Here are just 4 things you should do immediately at the scene of a car accident.
- Stop and Stay.
The first thing you need to do is to stop. It is against the law to leave the scene of an accident. Even if it’s just a minor fender-bender, you are still required to stop your vehicle. If you don’t stop, but keep going, you are considered to be a hit-and-run driver. This could lead to fines or even criminal charges.
Keep in mind that when you do stop your vehicle, (assuming it can be moved) you will need to pull out of the way of any oncoming traffic. For your safety and that of others, pull over to the nearest soft shoulder and out of the way, and turn your engine off.
- Contact the Police and Get a Police Report.
The next important thing you should do (after calling 911 if anyone is injured and getting them the medical attention they need, of course), is to contact the police and get a police report.
Louisiana is an “at-fault” state which means that the party at fault for the accident is responsible for paying the other party’s damages. Because Louisiana also follows the theory of “contributory negligence,” if you were partially at fault for the accident, any amount of money you would be entitled to will be reduced by the percentage of your fault.
What all this means is that it is important to get as much information as possible about what happened and who caused the accident. A police report will document the position of the cars and the facts and may give the names and evidence of witnesses to the accident. Many times the police report will indicate who the officer believes was at fault. This type of evidence can be critical to proving your case.
- Get Medical Attention.
All car accidents, even minor ones, can result in injuries to those involved. Because the stress of an accident often causes a person’s adrenaline to spike so high, many people don’t realize they are injured until later. Sometimes it can take days for the full extent of a person’s injuries to be known. Because of this, it is important that you seek medical attention immediately – either at the hospital or from your family doctor, that same day or within a day or two. Don’t be fooled by the fact that it may not have been a major crash with cars ending up in a crumpled heap of metal. You do not know the extent of your injuries. Go to a doctor and get treated and make sure that your injuries are documented.
- Take Photographs.
If you are not so injured that you need to go to the hospital immediately, while you are waiting for the police to arrive, exchange information with the other driver(s) and take photographs of the scene of the accident. Again, this can be helpful later if you file a personal injury claim.
Finally, if necessary, contact experienced car accident attorneys who can help you with your case.
Call us ToDay.
If you are in a car accident, call us. We are experienced car accident attorneys. We offer FREE consultations, and in many cases, we don’t get paid unless you win. Our offices are in Baton Rouge, and we serve Baker, Denham, Gonzales, Port Allen, Prairieville, New Orleans, and Zachary. Call (225) 465-1232 ToDay to schedule your free consultation or contact us here.