Due to the nature of my occupation as a Rhode Island and Massachusetts auto accident attorney, I consistently help the victims of minor and severe auto accidents. Each accident is different, and so are the people involved. This is especially true in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, which just happen to be two of the most accident-prone states in the nation.
Unfortunately, many people who are involved in a Rhode Island or Massachusetts auto accident do not realize that the choices they make immediately following an accident can have lasting consequences on their life. What you do, or fail to do, in the minutes following an accident is extremely important to consider. I place extra emphasis on this fact if you routinely drive on Massachusetts or Rhode Island roads.
Over the past 22 years some of my clients have made mistakes during those critical moments following an accident. On the other hand, some clients knew the proper procedure before the accident occurred – which helped them tremendously.
While none of us want to be involved in a vehicular accident, the truth of the matter is that sometimes it is out of control. Unfortunately we cannot control the wreck less driving behavior of others. Because of this, I felt it appropriate to discuss 8 things you can do immediately following an accident, which can help you tremendously in the long run.
I hope you and your loved ones are never involved in a car crash. However if you are, please be sure to recall these 8 critically important post auto accident actions.
8) Always stop immediately after an accident
Hit and run is the #1 worst thing you can do following an accident – especially a Massachusetts or Rhode Island auto accident. Regardless of how minor the accident seems to be, you must stop. This is true even if the accident was clearly not your fault.
Hitting and running can have seriously negative implications, no matter how minor the accident seems to be.
7) Determine the extent of injuries
After stopping, your next most important action is to determine the extent of any injuries. Hopefully the accident is minor with no serious injuries. However, remember that some injuries are not immediately apparent, and can arise and worsen over time.
The best thing to do is call the police, or if serious accidents have occurred, call emergency care. This will provide the proof and documentation you will need, should an injury manifest itself during the days and weeks following the accident.
6) Obtain the Facts
Once everyone is OK and proper medical personnel have arrived, the next move is to obtain the facts. By facts I mean:
- Information from the other driver (name, address etc.)
- Vehicle information (make, model etc.)
- Insurance information
- Location of the accident
- Police officer’s name
- Any other information you deem important in the moment
5) Photograph the scene
Most people today have a smart phone on them at all times, which is amazingly convenient for documenting the scene of an accident. Take a set of photos of all vehicles involved. Be creative and take the same photo from different angles and perspectives.
If you cannot take a photo, call us at 800-200-7752 and we will photograph the scene for you.
4) Do not say the accident was your fault
This may be difficult to do if you are an honest person, which of course I hope you are. However if you believe the accident was your fault, it is still best to keep this to yourself – at least at the scene of the accident.
Do not pass judgement on what happened, or label yourself as the cause of the accident. Allow your attorney to handle this for you. Work with any on-scene police officers and answer their questions accurately, yet remain impartial as to who caused the accident.
3) Report the accident to your insurance company but DO NOT offer a recorded statement
Auto insurance policies require covered individuals to report an accident as soon as possible. However this does not mean that you need to divulge every little detail or offer a recorded statement of what happened. Report the accident, but do not go any further – even though the insurance company may try to coerce you into doing so.
Remember that the insurance company’s best interest is in not paying you. Report the accident, but then contact a personal injury attorney BEFORE going any further.
2) Do not talk to the other driver’s insurance company
Even if you are contacted directly by the other driver’s insurance company, politely decline to make a statement. If you do talk, I can almost guarantee that it will come back to bite you in the butt.
Some insurance adjusters have years of experience, and will use psychology to “walk you down a road” you do not want to go down. They will use your own words against you, as that is the ultimate goal of the call in the first place.
1) Call a lawyer
Because personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, there is no upfront cost to hiring a personal injury lawyer. When in doubt, be sure to give us a call.
We can maneuver through the hoops for you, on your behalf. My firm has 22 years of experience dealing with insurance companies and the laws of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. We can put this experience to work for you and help you recover following a vehicular accident.