As counter-intuitive as it might seem, it is important to be at your sharpest immediately following a car accident, especially if it involves more than one driver. You should always attend to medical emergencies first, and see to the safety of anyone affected by the crash, but after those immediate needs are taken care of, you need to protect yourself. Here are some things to remember.
Get Everyone’s Information
After an accident, you’ll want to speak to the other drivers involved, but you should also speak to the police officers, emergency personnel, tow truck drivers, and anyone else at the scene who was not involved in the accident. The reason for this comprehensive approach is that these people may end up being witnesses if there is a dispute.
If there are others at the scene who may have seen the conditions prior to or immediately after the accident, get their information as well. This could be vitally important, because you may have trouble reconstructing this information later.
Don’t Make Any Statements
After an accident, anything you say could be used against you by the insurance companies involved. It may be best to avoid giving any statements to police officers, other drivers, or anyone else at the scene regarding your potential involvement, who was at fault, or what happened. Do not answer any questions aside from what you are legally obliged to answer.
This is of particular importance if you are questioned by police. If the police question you, you can invoke your right to consult with a personal injury lawyer Memphis TN trusts first. In a multiple-vehicle accident, there may be several layers of potential liability. As only one party, you may not know how the accident happened. The best policy is to remain silent and not speculate.
One of the greatest conveniences of your cell phone is that you are always equipped with a camera and unlimited film. You should take pictures of everything at an accident scene. Start with the identifying documents of the other drivers and any witnesses. Then move on to license plates, visible damage to vehicles, any visible injuries to other drivers, and pictures of every vehicle at the scene that was not involved in the accident.
Once you have a record of all the involved parties, take pictures of the road, skid marks, debris or road damage. Photograph any nearby street signs or traffic lights and any obvious surveillance cameras or bus stops. Get pictures of the nearest street addresses. Take pictures showing the lighting conditions if the accident happened at night, and the weather conditions at the time.
Taking detailed pictures may help to provide you with a complete record of what happened, which may be the difference between being found liable or and not at fault.
A car accident is bad enough to begin with. Protecting yourself from liability disputes is a simple way to improve your circumstances. You should consult a qualified legal professional as quickly as possible if you are involved in a multi-car accident.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Wiseman Bray PLLC for their insight into what to do if you’re in a multi-car accident.