Car accidents happen. When people get into
car accidents, many things seem to happen all at once. There is
shock, adrenaline rush and potential harm to yourself or someone
else. After the initial disorientation, you'll soon realize that
you've been thrown neck deep in the middle of a crisis.
You or someone else may be hurt. There
may also be the potential for further injuries if action is not
taken. You may have to flee or pull someone to safety. You may
have to save yourself or a loved one from further injuries or
How large the crisis is involves many factors as
not all car accidents are alike. Some involve multiple vehicles,
multiple passengers, pedestrians, on public property, private
property and some will involve fatalities while others are just
fender benders. But, the similarity that most car accidents have
in common is the initial shock, disorientation, feelings of anger,
helplessness and in many cases, injuries to person or property.
When someone is involved with a car accident, it is the rare
person who first thinks about retaining an auto accident attorney.
In fact, retaining an auto accident attorney comes much later
in the process for most, if at all.
One of the most important aspects of being in a car accident
is to first attend to the crisis at hand. Call the police or 911
where available. Attend to the injured. Attend to yourself if
you are injured or seek help. Once you become oriented and things
calm down somewhat, there are some matters that you need to attend
to just in case you would like to pursue future legal matters.
To many this will sound distasteful as it smacks of how litigious
our society has become. But, preparing for a potential future
lawsuit is not the same as a blatant, merit-less money grab. Your
car accident may mean that you or your loved one is out of work
for an extended time and there are bills to pay and a family to
feed and many needs that will require your attention. Hospital
bills can be enormous especially for the uninsured or underinsured.
In sum, the crisis of the car accident may be over with, but a
bigger and longer lasting crisis may just be starting and that
is the recovery process, which means physical, emotional and financial.
If you're involved in a car accident, you don't have to think
about hiring an auto accident attorney right away as this can
come later. It will be prudent, however, to gather all the information
that you can about the accident so that in case you'd like to
hire an auto accident attorney later, or even negotiate with the
insurance companies yourself, you will have information and documentation
to help you with your claim.
Some of the information that can be gathered at the scene of
the accident once everyone is out of danger and medical and police
personnel have been called include:
- Names, addresses, phone numbers and driver's licenses of
all the drivers involved
- Names, addresses and phone numbers of everyone else (passengers
and pedestrians) involved
- Those who reported personal injuries right after the accident
- Those who received medical attention on the scene or who were
taken from the scene for medical attention
- Did anyone appear to be under the influence of drugs or alchol
and were there other witnesses to this behavior
- Location of the accident
- Names, addresses and phone numbers of witnesses to the accident
- Write down how you think the car accident happened, such as
which directions the vehicles were traveling, what time of day
and weather conditions
- Was there any damage to the vehicles and if so which vehicles,
how much and did any of the vehicles need to be towe
- If you have a camera or video camera take photos to document
the scene of the acciden
- Did anyone say they were responsible for the accident or did
anyone state they may have been partially at fault and if so,
- Did the police come, issue a ticket and what are the names
of the police officers involved
Just because you decide to gather all of this information does
not mean that you have to race down to your local auto accident
attorney. It also doesn't mean you have to refuse to see one on
"moral principles" either. Whatever your impression
is of car accident lawyers
or any personal injury lawyer for that
matter, there may be a time in your life that you may need one
to solve a legitimate claim.
Most likely, the other person's insurance company will want to
pay you bottom dollar for your claim while proclaiming that they
are giving you a good and fair settlement. Remember, it is not
the job of the insurance company to give you a good and fair settlement
but rather to keep as much money as possible in their shareholder's
pockets. The antidote for being squeezed by someone else's insurance
company is retaining your own auto accident attorney.
Car accidents happen. That's a fact. But, how you react after
the accident is totally up to you. Will you take charge and write
down the facts or will you simply let things happen as they happen?
The quickest way to recover from being a victim is by taking action.
Choose to be an action-taker.