Maryland Auto Accident Lawyers: Ten Steps to Protect Yourself After an Auto AccidentOctober 7, 2013
You have been in a car wreck. Now what? Although the experience can leave you dazed and shocked, your quick actions can help you protect your health and preserve your legal claim. By making a plan in advance, you can act decisively and appropriately.
The Maryland State Bar Association provides helpful tips to drivers involved in an accident, including:
- Stop — Even for a minor fender-bender, leaving the scene of an accident is illegal.
- Help injury victims — To the extent you are able, render aid to anybody who is injured. This may mean simply calling 911 and remaining on the scene.
- Warn other drivers — If the collision obstructs the roadway, turn your flashing hazard lights on. Use any other tools at your disposal to safely illuminate the area and warn approaching drivers. However, do not put yourself in additional danger by standing in the middle of a highway, for example.
- Call police — An officer should investigate the cause of the accident and provide you with the report you need to submit to your insurance company.
- Photograph the scene — Take photographs of the cars, roadway, skid marks and any other relevant evidence.
- Collect witnesses’ and other drivers’ information — Write down witnesses’ names and contact information, as well as the other drivers’ insurance data.
- Be cooperative, but be careful what you say — During the chaotic aftermath of an accident, you may unintentionally put your legal claim in jeopardy by blurting out an incriminating statement. Do not admit fault, because you may in fact not be legally liable.
- Get immediate medical care — Injury symptoms may not manifest immediately. For example, head injuries may not become obvious for several days or weeks after the motor vehicle crash. For this reason, let a doctor examine you, even if you do not think you are injured.
- Notify your insurance company of the accident — Most insurance companies have strict deadlines for filing your claim after an accident. Do not risk missing the deadline and waiving your rights.
- Talk to your personal injury lawyer — Do not accept a settlement offer from the insurance company or submit to the agent’s questions until you have spoken to a qualified Maryland auto accident lawyer first.