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I’ve been in an automobile accident! What should I do now?

John Courtney Jan. 12, 2020

You may be in shock. You are likely feeling a great sense of anxiety. You may not feel pain at first – adrenaline can mask the early onset of pain and discomfort.

Because so many things could be racing through your head immediately after a car accident, you will likely be best served if you keep a post-auto-accident checklist in the glovebox of your vehicle. We have put together such a checklist below. While one would hope to never be in an automobile accident, we hope you are able to enjoy a prompt and full recovery in the event that tragedy strikes.

□ Don’t Move! The positioning of the vehicles after an accident is evidence. Do not risk destroying the evidence. Before you move your vehicle, you must first create a record of all the evidence.

□ Make Sure You Are Out of Harm’s Way! Turn on your emergency flashers. If you are unable to exit your vehicle without the risk of causing additional injury to yourself, keep your seatbelt on. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to see a follow-up accident involving a demobilized automobile obstructing traffic.

□ Dial 911. One call to 911 will dispatch police, fire and medical personnel to the accident scene. Even if you believe the damage to be minimal, it is always a good call to dial 911. Oftentimes your insurance will want a police report in order to expedite your claim. Until police have arrived, do not move your vehicle.

□ Gather Evidence. You do not want to move your vehicle until police arrive and instruct you to do so. But what if the other driver is attempting to move his or her vehicle? Do not get into a confrontation with the other driver. Tensions are usually very high after an automobile accident, so be careful not to add unnecessary stress to the situation. Instead, you should always begin gathering evidence by taking photographs of the other driver’s car. You can take photographs of your car afterwards. You should take enough photographs to capture every angle of the accident scene. You should also take photographs of any skid marks on the roadway. Take photographs of the other driver’s insurance card, driver license, and VIN Number, which is usually just under the base of the windshield on the driver-side of the dash. Take photographs of any visible injuries present on your person or the other driver. In essence, you will want to take as many photographs as reasonably possible. If you feel like you are taking too many photographs, you are probably on your way to taken barely enough to preserve all the evidence in the case. □ Get Medical Evaluation/Treatment. You may not feel pain or discomfort immediately following an automobile accident. Sometimes pain will not appear until days later. Also, you may be able to minimize the extent of your injuries by getting treatment as soon as possible following an accident. If you do not have access to immediate medical treatment, and you do not desire treatment at an emergency room, contact a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney. Experienced personal injury attorneys can help you get the treatment you deserve, usually without any expense to you.

□ Contact Your Insurance Company. Contact your insurance company as soon as reasonably practical. DO NOT DISCUSS WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE ACCIDENT! Simply let your insurance company know you were involved in a motor vehicle accident, and give them information about the damage to your vehicle. Do not discuss your bodily injuries with your insurance company prior to consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney. If asked about bodily injuries, just let your insurance company know that you do not feel comfortable speaking with them about your injuries before you have had an opportunity to consult with legal counsel.

□ Set Up An Appointment With Experienced Legal Counsel. If you were not at fault for the accident, you should promptly hire a law firm you trust. Most Nevada law firms will not collect any legal fees until after the case has been settled or fully prosecuted. Hiring a law firm promptly is important for several reasons: (1) to get you the medical treatment you deserve without you having to immediately pay out-of-pocket costs; (2) to help your preserve your rights; and (3) to assist you in adding value to your case.