Today we will be talking about auto accidents and what to do right after the accident. My guest is attorney Dave Miller and he is going to talk with us about this topic. So Dave thanks for being here today.
Dave: Thank you for having me.
Interviewer: Dave what is the first thing to do after a car accident?
Dave: The first thing to do, and the most obvious thing is to do an assessment of yourself, of your passengers and your vehicle. Certainly if you have sustained a significant injury you don’t want to be doing too much. If you can get to your phone you will certainly want to call 911 to get medical emergency personnel on the scene as well as police officers and fire department on the scene to do what they need to do to make sure everyone is safe, the scene is controlled and if you need emergency medical treatment then it’s there for you.
Interviewer: And assuming you’re not too seriously injured should you move your vehicle if it is blocking traffic?
Dave: My general suggestion is do not move the vehicle until you are instructed to do so by the responding police officers or fire department police. There are reasons for this. Obviously you don’t want to put yourself in danger of on oncoming traffic. You also want to preserve the scene so that the investigation can be done completely as the vehicles came to rest after the crash. The investigation will include things like looking for marks on the roadway, assessing the final position of vehicles, any debris that may have been scattered and other things. If you move your vehicle you run the risk of destroying the scene as it existed and that may make things difficult for you and any potential claim you may file. The nature of the roadway also comes into play. If you are feel like you are in a position where your vehicle is let’s say on a two lane highway and your vehicle is not injured or not damaged all that much, then certainly for the safety of yourself and oncoming traffic pull over to the side of the roadway. But with more significant damage like I said you may be putting yourself and others at risk by even trying to move your vehicle.
Interviewer: Is it appropriate to take some pictures at the scene of the accident and if so what should they take picture of?
Dave: Take pictures of everything you possibly can. if you have a camera on your phone, you want to take photos of the vehicles that were involved in the crash from every angle and basically think of it as a clock. You want to take a picture of your vehicle and any other vehicle from each hour on the clock. If you can take a distance shot from the scene do that as well. If there are any marks on the roadway do your best to capture those and always remember its best to keep some object in the photograph to give depth perception to anyone looking at the photograph down the road.
Interviewer: Dave assuming you are in injured is it important to go to the ER or is it okay to wait until the next day and see your family doctor?
Dave: It’s important depending on the nature of your injury. Obviously if you feel like you have a fracture or you’re bleeding, get in the ambulance and go to the emergency room. The worst thing that happens is you spend some time in the emergency room, but at least if there’s nothing seriously wrong with you, you get cleared. Beyond that they will also give you some ideas on what to do next for medical treatment. If you’re not injured all that bad, you just have some bumps and bruises and you’re feeling okay, you’re feeling like your mind is with you and you know what’s going on then it’s not as important to go to the ER. But my suggestion is as soon you feel that something is significant enough that gives you some concern then you need to go see a doctor whether or not that’s the emergency room or to a clinic. There are convenient ways to get emergency care these days and they are all paid through your automobile insurance if it’s an automobile crash, so it makes sense to use the coverage that you have to get yourself checked out and then follow up with your family doctor later on down the road as the emergency personnel will instruct you too.
Interviewer: And then at what point should you call your own insurance company?
Dave: As soon as possible beyond calling 911, and calling any family members that you need to get in touch with – your insurance company should be the next call you make. You want to report the crash, you want to give your insurance company an idea of what happened, and give them some description of how you’re feeling and that will allow them to get your claim started. It will help out with the medical billing when you go get medical treatment. It will also get their personnel out to take a look at the crash scene right away. The longer you wait and the more time that transpires, the more things that are not in your favor can happen and we don’t want that to happen to you.