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What to Do Immediately After You’ve Been in an Accident

It’s important to consult with a qualified professional for advice tailored to your specific situation. Here are some general steps you may consider:

  1. Stay Calm:
    • Take a deep breath and try to stay as calm as possible. This will help you think more clearly.
  2. Ensure Safety:
    • If possible and if there are no major injuries, move your vehicle to a safe location to avoid blocking traffic and reduce the risk of additional accidents.
  3. Check for Injuries:
    • Check yourself and others for injuries. If there are serious injuries, call emergency services immediately.
  4. Call the Police:
    • In many places, it’s required to report accidents to the police. Even if it’s a minor accident, having a police report can be useful for insurance claims.
  5. Exchange Information:
    • Exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved. This includes names, phone numbers, addresses, insurance company names, and policy numbers.
  6. Document the Scene:
    • Take pictures of the accident scene, including the vehicles involved, the damage, license plates, and the overall environment. This documentation can be valuable when dealing with insurance claims.
  7. Limit Discussion:
    • Be careful about what you say at the scene. Avoid admitting fault, as fault is determined by the police and insurance companies based on the available evidence.
  8. Contact Your Insurance Company:
    • Notify your insurance company as soon as possible. They can guide you through the claims process.
  9. Seek Medical Attention:
    • Even if you don’t think you’re injured, it’s advisable to see a doctor. Injuries may not be immediately apparent, and a medical professional can provide documentation for insurance claims.
  10. Follow Up:
    • Follow up with your insurance company, and if necessary, with law enforcement. Keep copies of all documents related to the accident, including medical reports, repair estimates, and correspondence with insurance companies.
  11. Consider Legal Advice:
    • If the accident involves significant injuries or disputes about fault, you may want to consult with an attorney to understand your rights and options.

Remember, this is general advice, and the specific steps you should take may vary based on your location and the circumstances of the accident. Always prioritize safety and follow the laws and regulations in your area.

The few moments immediately after an accident can be confusing

The few moments immediately after an accident can be confusing and scary. More than likely you vehicle has been seriously damaged, and you or the people with you may have been injured. Below, I’ll describe what you should do immediately after an accident to protect yourself physically and legally.

First, you should find a safe place to situate yourself. This will be, obviously, away from the road. Even if you have to leave your vehicle for a moment, it will be safer in case a secondary accident happens. Secondary accidents can occur when vehicles strike other vehicles which were involved in a crash. These can result in massive pileups, and fatalities if the occupants of the vehicles involved in the original crash are still present. In short, get off the road and somewhere you are out of the way.

The police will file a report that your insurance company will want to read

Next, you should call the police. Even if the accident is relatively minor, the police will file a report that your insurance company will want to read. It will record the conditions of the road, weather, vehicles, and persons involved. You may not realize it, but the person who was also involved in the accident may be intoxicated. The police will identify issues such as this and can record them for future use in court. It can also be difficult to search your memory later for details of the crash. Where was the sun, the condition of the road, and what were the particulars of the damage? These details are important, and a police report will ensure that they are recorded.

Your next call should be to your insurance company. They will inform you which towing service they prefer you use, which can be vital if you intend on being reimbursed. Coordinating with their mechanic shop of choice will save you money in the long run. They will also inform you if you need to take any other steps, such as immediately visiting a hospital to verify if you have any injuries.

Contact a personal accident attorney

The last critical step is to contact a personal accident attorney. A personal accident lawyer will be able to guide you through the steps to ensure your legal rights are protected. You may be instructed to be silent about the particulars of the accident, especially if you could be considered partially at fault. Be sure that you listen your attorney, as it could protect you from a lawsuit later on from the other party’s insurance company; it could also protect you from rulings against your claim by your own insurance company.

Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.

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