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The immediate aftermath of a car crash, any car crash, can be truly disorienting. If you’ve recently been involved in a wreck – whether it be a fender-bender or a catastrophic crash – and you’re reading this information for guidance on what to do next, know that first and foremost, you need to take care of your physical safety. If you’re hurt, call 911. If you’re not so badly hurt that you can take the time to move your vehicle to the side of the road, do so to avoid a greater likelihood that your vehicle will be struck again. Everything else can wait until your physical safety has been taken care of.
At the Scene
As an experienced car accident attorney – including those who practice at Glotzer & Leib, LLP – can confirm, what you do at the scene of your accident may ultimately make or break your legal case. Therefore, if you are strong enough and well enough to take a few steps in the interests of your legal situation, do so. If not, do not panic. Simply call an experienced attorney as soon as you’re well enough to do so and they’ll do their utmost to gather evidence and investigate your circumstances as soon as they’ve been alerted to your situation.
If you can, call the police to get them on the scene. If you’re uncomfortable meeting with law enforcement on your own, call an attorney to meet you at the scene so that they can advocate on behalf of your interests while the police are filing a report. Getting a report going may prove to be very important to the outcome of your case, so don’t wait to take this step.
Next, make sure to exchange contact information and insurance information with any other motorists at the scene. If you can get a picture of their license plates, take one. Also make sure to get the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident, as their testimony may prove to be important to the outcome of your case.
When surveying the scene, take both photos and video of the area, making sure to capture any images that you think could be particularly helpful (such as signage covered by foliage, tire tracks, evidence of poor road or weather conditions, and the state of each vehicle involved in the wreck).
Once you’ve arrived either at home (or settled into a hospital room, if your injuries require hospitalization), take some time to either write down or record your memories of what happened in the moments before, during, and after the crash. Your brain will soon be trying to protect you from trauma by muting some of your experience or altering it in ways that are easier for your body to process. By taking these notes now, you’ll have an objective record for an attorney to reference as your brain and body do what they need to heal.