It may not have happened to you yet, but chances are, if you live in Las Vegas you will be involved in a motor vehicle collision eventually. When that day comes, do you know what to do to protect your interests? Take a moment to plan things out now, while things aren’t so hectic.
Better yet, keep an emergency kit in your glovebox with the following steps written out, plus pen and paper for taking notes, a disposable camera to take photos of the vehicles at the scene, and a card with information about medical allergies or conditions that may require special attention if there are serious injuries. Also, keep a list of contact numbers for law enforcement agencies handy. A set of cones, warning triangles or emergency flares should be kept in the trunk.
1. Call 911. Check to see if you or someone else is injured. If so, tell the 911 operator. Remain calm until help arrives.
2. Take lots of pictures. If you are able and it is safe to do so, take pictures of everything–the cars in their resting places; the collision scene as a whole; the skid marks on the pavement–anything that you might need to talk about later. Your pictures should show the context of the collision. It’s better to take too many pictures than to find out you can’t prove what happened later.
3. Move over. If it is safe to do so, move your vehicle out of the way of other drivers. Turn on your hazard lights and put out emergency cones or flares to warn other drivers if possible.
4. Exchange information. After the collision, exchange the following information: name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number and license plate number for the driver and the owner of each vehicle. If the driver’s name is different from the name of the insured, establish what the relationship is and take down the name and address for each individual. Also make a written description of each car, including year, make, model and color — and the exact location of the collision and how it happened. Finally, be polite but don’t tell the other drivers or the police that the accident was your fault, even if you think it was.
5. Seek medical attention right away if you are injured. Unless you have broken bones or abrasions, immediately after the collision you may not realize you are hurt. After things calm down, if you develop pain seek medical attention sooner rather than later. Don’t wait. Even if the wreck was not your fault, you still have a duty to mitigate your damages.
6. Find a lawyer to represent you. Even when the other driver admits the wreck was not your fault, recovering your damages may not be so cut and dry. A good personal injury lawyer deals with insurance companies every day. Let the experts handle your claim so your interests are protected.
If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle collision, call Tanya Fraser Law for a free consult at 702-608-1551.