Auto and Truck Accident Checklist
You never expect to be in an auto or truck accident. But what do you do when it happens? You need to be proactive. Here are a few simple guidelines that may assist you in the event or a car, truck, motorcycle, or 18-wheeler accident.
Check yourself. You may be dazed or hit your head. Relax and evaluate the scene. Do you feel any injuries? Are you bleeding? Can you get out of the vehicle? If you are hurt, try and stay put if you are safe. Moving around may complicate injuries. If you are hurt and can reach your phone, call 911.
Scan the inside of your vehicle. Where are the other occupants? You should be able to account for each person. Occupants thrown from the vehicle in auto and truck accidents may be critically injured. Knowing that every occupant is accounted for should be a high priority. If you can’t find another occupant notify emergency personnel immediately.
Is your vehicle stable and secure? Auto and truck accidents can become even worse when another vehicle piles on. If you are in rain, snow, or fog other vehicles may not be able to see you in time. If they function, turn on your hazard lights. Make sure your vehicle is in park with the keys removed from the ignition. If you are able, set the emergency brake.
Check your airbags. Airbags stay active and can eject long after a crash. When in doubt, relay the information about your airbags to emergency personnel.
Do you smell gas or other petroleum products? Check your surroundings and look for any liquids or fluids on the ground. Be safe until you can determine that the liquids are not flammable. Point out the liquids out to emergency personnel.
If you have not called 911, call the police to the scene of the accident. You need an accident report. I cannot stress this point enough. The person that caused the auto, truck, or motorcycle accident may admit liability at the scene and later recant. You need documentation. Explain what happened to law enforcement. If you are injured, follow up and give your statement to law enforcement as soon as possible. They can and should amend their report. Today, many police departments are reluctant to come to the scene of an auto or truck incident if they think the accident damage is minimal. Don’t let this happen to you. Insist on an officer coming to the scene. They may make you wait. It will be worth your time. Low property damage car and truck accidents can still yield serious injuries.
Gather the information from all the other drivers and witnesses at the scene. This information may be critical to your case. Emergency personnel and law enforcement have many things on their mind while tending to the scene of a car or truck accident. Don’t count on them. Get the information yourself. Your list should include:
The name, address, city, and telephone numbers of the other drivers and witnesses (get as many numbers as you can, mobile, home, work).
If they have email get their email address.
Get the name phone number, and address of everyone’s insurance company. Get the policy numbers and the name of the insured.
If listed, get the policy limits of their insurance carrier.
Get the information of the law enforcement officers investigating the scene including their badge numbers, the agency they are with, and their location.
Get a description of each vehicle including the make, model, color, and license plate number.
Draw a diagram of the scene. This may sound silly, but personal injury attorneys see poorly illustrated diagrams frequently, usually done by the investigating officer. Which way were the cars or trucks travelling before the accident? Where are they located now?
Take pictures of the scene and of the vehicles. Your phone probably already has a pretty good camera built into it. Use it. Photograph each driver. Document injuries. Photograph skid marks and other damage that you may see. This step is very important. Photographs are frequently the most powerful uses of evidence used in settling a case. Don’t count on anyone else. If you can take pictures of the accident then make sure that you do.
Contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Your auto and truck accident attorney should be the first person you speak with. Do not speak with the insurance company until you have met with an attorney that represents injured victims of auto and truck accidents. You could seriously jeopardize your case. Call Ron Voyles and Associates and schedule a free consultation today and discuss your legal rights and remedies.
See your doctor. One of the main things personal injury lawyers see in auto and truck accidents are people that have injuries that are not readily apparent in the hours and days following an accident. You may not realize the extent of your injuries until much later. Get documentation up front and then you can follow up later if pain and symptoms develop. Be wise, get checked out by your doctor.