If you have been in an auto accident in Washington, D.C., it is important to have the legal insight an experienced lawyer can provide.
Things You Need to Do After a Car Crash
There are six million car accidents in the United States annually. That boils down to approximately 16,438 every day. Of these, 6 percent result in a fatal auto accident and 33 percent lead to an injury of some kind. The major reasons for car accidents are distracted or drunk driving. In fact, drunk drivers kill approximately 10,000 individuals each year. With the high risk of being involved in a traffic accident, it is important to know what to do when a collision occurs.
Stay at the Scene of the Accident
Never leave the scene of the accident. Whether or not you think any damages occurred as in a minor parking lot fender bender or if the other vehicle is parked, you are still obligated to stay. The problem is if you do leave and get caught, you face a charge of hit and run, fines and jail time. If there is no one in the vehicle, leave a note with your contact information under the windshield wiper. If the other driver is present, make sure to give both your contact and insurance company information.
Call Law Enforcement
Let the police know you have had a auto accident and its location. If you are on a highway, look around for identifying elements such as an off-ramp or a mile marker. Once the police arrive, the officer in charge will evaluate the crash site for liability. The officer will fill out an accident report. If possible, try to obtain a copy. If another driver was inebriated or driving recklessly, the officer notes the citation in the report. This information is useful if a personal injury claim is filed.
Obtain Information From Others at the Accident Scene
Be sure to obtain contact and insurance information from the other driver(s) involved in the accident. If witnesses are present, obtain their contact information too. Some witnesses will provide their observations of the accident. If they do, write it down or record it on your cell phone.
Document the accident visually. Take pictures of the placement of all vehicles and any damage to them. You can also document the location of the accident. If you are injured, it is a good idea to take a photo of your injuries.
Explaining the Accident
Before you explain how the accident occurred to the police or the insurance company, it is best to collect your thoughts. If you are unsure about something, do not guess. Just say you are unsure. If you are asked if you are injured, tell the truth. Remember some symptoms are not apparent for days after the accident. Tell them you are seeking evaluation by a medical professional if rescue personnel do not arrange for transportation to the hospital.
See a Medical Professional
An evaluation by a medical professional is important after an auto accident. Because of the adrenaline released into your bloodstream after a crash, you may not be aware of injuries. Having your physical condition documented by a physician is vital in rear-end collisions where neck injury may not be apparent for up to 72 hours after the accident.
Contact Your Insurer
Contact your insurance company as soon as you can. Give them the basic information about the accident. They may ask questions that you find difficult to answer. You can let them know you would just be guessing and would rather not do that. Sometimes, the insurer will tell you they are about to record the conversation. You are not obligated to agree.
Contact the Roeser Law Firm
If you have been in an auto accident in Washington, D.C., it is important to have the legal insight an experienced lawyer can provide. Call the Roeser Law Firm to schedule a free case review at (202) 660-4070. You will be able to discuss your case and ask questions about your options moving forward. The Roeser Law firm will also speak to your insurance company on your behalf.