It is common knowledge that inclement weather can result in poor road conditions, which require extra caution while driving. However, sometimes no matter how careful you drive, you may still be involved in a car accident. If you are involved in a car accident, it is important to know what to do when that accident occurs.
1. DO NOT PANIC: First and foremost is to try and remain calm and make sure that no one has been gravely injured. If you or anyone else has been gravely injured, seek medical attention immediately.
2. CALL THE POLICE: Even if the accident appears initially to be minor in nature, it is always wise (when feasible) to call the police so that they may complete an investigation and report as to what happened. People are not always truthful when thereafter reporting an accident to their insurance company, thereby making the police report the most reliable and objective account as to the happening of the accident.
3. OBTAIN RELEVANT INFORMATION: In the heat of the moment it is sometimes difficult to remember what information to obtain. If you forget, just think of what a police officer always asks for when pulling a driver over. That is, your license, registration and insurance identification card. In a polite and respectful manner, ask the driver of the other car to furnish these three items.
When observing the person's license, copy down his/her name, address, date of birth, license expiration date, license identification number, description and State issuing the license. See that the picture on the license looks like the person and is in fact their license.
When observing the registration, copy down the license plate number, make of the car, year of the car, vehicle identification number, expiration date and name and address of the registered owner. If the name is different than that on the license, inquire as to who the actual owner is and what their relationship is to the driver, if any.
When observing the insurance identification card, copy down the name of the insurance company for the car, the policy number and the effective term for the insurance. Make sure that the information provided on the insurance card is in fact for the car you were in the accident with and take photographs of all property damge, if possible.
In short, copy down all information that you feel is important or may possibly be important from the license, registration and insurance identification card, as well as the other person's current telephone number.
4. SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION: Injuries sustained in an automobile accident are not always readily apparent. In fact, these injuries may often take days or weeks before they are fully manifested. That is why, even if you think you are fine, it is wise to get examined by a doctor as soon as possible to get a professional opinion. If you do appear injured, it is best to go to a hospital and get examined and tested as needed. You may have a serious injury and not realize it at the time of the accident. These injuries, if not properly attended to, may become far more serious. When it comes to your health, it truly is better to be safe than sorry.
5. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: If you have been injured in an automobile accident, especially if through no fault of your own, you should consult with an attorney to know your rights and what is required of you. There are numerous forms and time limits that you must comply with, in order to cover your medical bills, lost wages, property damage and personal injuries and pain and suffering. An attorney will be able to apprise and assist you in completing all necessary forms and complying with all time limits, so as to maximize your recovery and minimize your out of pocket expenses.
If you are unfortuantely involved in a car accident, remember not to panic and make sure no one has been gravely injured. Call the police so that they may complete an investigation and report and obtain all relevant information from the other driver. Lastly, seek all necessary medical attention and know your rights.
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.