An Accident Checklist from the Maiello, Brungo & Maiello Litigation Team

As everyone knows, accidents happen, and even good drivers who are paying attention can be in an automobile collision.  This article aims to provide the basic checklist to enable you to come out of the situation with a favorable outcome. The checklist given here will provide you with a basic timeline of actions that you can take in the seconds, hours, days and months after the accident to ensure your safety and preserve the evidence necessary for possible lawsuits or insurance claims. You may also contact someone from the Maiello, Brungo & Maiello Litigation Team to discuss any aspect of the incident.

1. Stay Calm.  The most important thing to do immediately after an accident is to stay calm.  It’s natural to feel anxious.  You may also be in pain.  Take deep breaths and calm down because a level head is necessary to assess the immediate situation.

2. Stop and Pull Over.  If your car is still moving, you should come to a stop immediately, pull to the side of the road so you are not obstructing traffic, and put your emergency lights on.  Do not leave the scene of the accident until all other drivers and police have left, unless you are injured and need to leave in an ambulance.

3. Check for Injuries.  Make sure everyone in your vehicle is all right.  Check to determine if anyone else at the scene of the accident is injured.  If anyone needs medical assistance, call an ambulance.

4. Notify the Police. It is important to file a police report even if the accident seems minor. If possible, wait for the police and speak to them as soon as they arrive. 

5. Exchange Information. Get the contact and insurance information of the other driver and any passengers in the other vehicle. Make sure to also write down the license plate and state of the other driver’s vehicle. Check to see if anyone witnessed the accident, and obtain their contact information as well.

6. Take Pictures of the Scene. While you are still at the accident scene, try to use your digital phone to take photos from different angles.  Also try to get pictures of any damage to your car or any other property, any injuries, the scene of the accident, and any tire marks, signs or other important evidence.

7. Document Injuries. In many cases, the severity of an injury is not apparent at the accident scene.  Neck and back injuries may not manifest themselves until hours or days after the impact.  However, if you or your passengers notice even minor discomfort or pain, it is important to note it.

8.  Call your Insurance Agency. As soon as possible, report the accident to your insurance agent. You do not have to notify them from the accident scene, but do it as soon as possible after the accident. As you are discussing the accident with your insurance agent, remember that your insurance company would like to settle the accident claim quickly and as inexpensively as possible, so they may not have your best interest in mind.

9. Call a member of the MB&M Litigation Team. If you think you might have a lawsuit you should contact a member of the Maiello Brungo & Maiello Litigation Team as soon as possible.  You should contact an attorney as early as possible so that they have time to prepare and try the case properly.  Remember that you can speak with an attorney and discuss your accident, but you are not under any obligation to hire that attorney. Talking an attorney is a good way to answer any questions you may have about your potential lawsuit.

If you should have any questions, please contact Roger Foley at rwf@mbm-law.net or 412.242.4400.

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