Even if you’re a careful driver, you can’t control how others behave on the road. Whether someone was driving drunk or ran a red light, even the safest of drivers could find themselves in need of a car accident lawyer.
How you respond in the immediate aftermath of an accident can make all the difference in helping you and others stay safe, as well as help you prepare for your case if you need to work with a personal injury attorney in Salem or Portland Oregon. Lance D. Youd is an experienced rear-end accident lawyer and negotiates successfully as an automobile accident attorney for all his injured clients. Though it can be hard to think clearly after getting in a car accident, try to follow these important steps.
Here Is What To Do If You Get In A Car Accident
Check For Injuries
The most important thing you can do after a car accident is to make sure that everyone in your vehicle is okay. Someone who has suffered significant injuries may not be able to be moved safely. Call 911 and wait for help to arrive.
Get to a Safe Area
If you and your passengers are relatively unharmed, and your vehicle can still be driven safely, get it out of the road. Pulling over to the side of the road ensures that you won’t be blocking traffic, while also reducing the chance that another driver could hit your vehicle while you’re waiting for help to arrive.
Call the Police
If no one in your vehicle or the other car has suffered serious injuries, you might think that you don’t need to call 911. However, even after a minor incident, it is generally best to call the police. Oregon law actually requires that drivers contact the police after an accident that meets the state’s DMV Accident Reporting Requirements.
For accidents involving damages greater than $2,500, a vehicle needing to be towed, or injury or death, you must call the police and contact the Oregon DMV within 72 hours of the incident.
When the police arrive on the scene, they will collect statements from you, the other driver, and others who may have witnessed the accident. The official police report will serve as vital documentation when submitting information to insurance companies or for helping your car accident lawyer establish your case.
Once you’ve established that everyone is safe and you’ve called 911, you’ll need to speak with the other driver (or drivers) involved in the accident. Do not discuss who may be at fault, as any statements you make could be used against you by insurance companies. Small talk may put you at ease, but it could hurt your case later. Instead, simply collect the following information from the other driver(s):
• Full name
• Contact information
• Insurance company and policy number
• Their vehicle make, model, and license plate number
This information will make it easier for your car accident lawyer to contact those involved in the incident and collect needed information for your case.
If you were involved in a road rage accident and are worried that the other driver could be a threat to you and your family, do not approach them. Stay in your car until the police arrive. Be sure to obtain a copy of the police report, as it will typically contain this information as well.
Document the Accident
When it is safe to do so, you should try to document the accident as thoroughly as possible. In addition to obtaining a copy of the official police report, you should collect names and contact information from any other witnesses who are present. Their statements could also prove vital when working with your car accident lawyer.
Use your phone to take pictures of the accident scene. If you can safely photograph the vehicles in their position after impact you should do so before moving the vehicle out of the roadway. Take pictures of your car and the other vehicle, emphasizing the areas that were damaged. You should also take pictures of the street view, signage, and the surrounding area. These photos can help establish fault and make it easier to remember critical details related to the accident.
As queasy as it may make you feel, taking pictures of any injuries could help your case and back up any medical documentation you get from the hospital.
While you may not have time to write down a detailed description of what happened while you are still at the scene of the crash, you should try to do this as soon as possible. Record details like the date and time of the accident, weather, traffic conditions, and anything else you remember. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to remember all the details.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Regardless of whether or not you are at fault for the accident, you should at least notify your insurance company that you have been in a car crash. Typically, they will want you to go to an adjuster to evaluate the extent of the damage to your vehicle. It is also a good idea to inform your insurance company if you plan to work with a car accident lawyer. Your own auto insurance company will pay medical bills and some portion of your wage loss upfront. Reach out to Lance D. Youd an experienced personal injury attorney for more detail and direction.
When the other driver is at fault, their insurance company should reach out to you, as they are the ones who will be financially responsible for medical expenses and vehicle repairs. However, do not leave a recorded statement with the insurance company. Let your attorney handle communications with insurance companies.
Hire a Lawyer
Finally, you’ll want to hire a car accident lawyer to take on your case and negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
A Google search for “car accident attorney near me” may give you a good starting point, but you’ll want to do more than that. Look into local attorneys to ensure that they have real experience helping clients with car accident cases.
Your consultation with a lawyer is when you should provide all documentation and information that you have related to your accident. You can also ask questions about what their process is like to see if their communication style is a good fit for you. The right lawyer will help you get much-needed compensation to cover your expenses.
Lance D. Youd Is An Auto Accident Attorney in Salem, Oregon
If you find yourself in need of a car accident lawyer in Salem, Oregon, choose Lance D. Youd, Attorney at Law. Serving the Willamette County area for over 28 years, Mr. Youd has earned a reputation for integrity while also ensuring that every clients’ rights are protected. If you have been in a car accident, contact us today.