The first moments after a bad car crash can leave you feeling foggy and not at your best. But it's also at this precise moment that you really ought to have your wits about you if you want to be able to protect your legal rights. With that in mind, here is a checklist of some of the different things you should following a car accident in order to put yourself in a strong legal position.
Are You Injured?
First things first, if you are even slightly injured, you should seek medical assistance immediately. Failing to get medical assistance isn't just bad for your health, it could also be used against you later as proof that you did not suffer as much as you are claiming as part of your legal case.
Contact the Authorities
You will likely be making a phone call to the authorities anyway if you are injured, but if not, you should still get a police report filed. Even if the other party is apologetic about what happened, they might change their version of what happened later on when it becomes clear that a court battle is coming. A police report provides an official account of events from a neutral observer and that could be to your advantage.
Document and Take Pictures
If you are not seriously injured and are able to move around, you should begin documenting the scene. This includes taking pictures of your vehicle, the other vehicle, and any other damage such as that to nearby property. You should write down a statement of what occurred. Note which street you were traveling on, the direction you were going and do the same for the other vehicle to the best of your recollection.
Exchange Insurance Info But Keep Conversation to a Minimum
You also have a legal obligation to provide your insurance information to the other party and get the same from them. Limit this conversation, though, and do not apologize for what happened as that could be seen as a sign of guilt. You are also under no obligation to talk to the insurance companies if you believe the agent does not have your best interests in mind. That's likely the case if they are representing the other side.
Contact an Attorney
For the best results, consider contacting an auto accident lawyer as soon as possible. Hiring a lawyer will give you someone to talk to the insurance companies and handle any other early conversations. You'll then be well prepared to move forward with your legal case.