5 Steps to Take After a New Haven Car Accident
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Car accidents are extremely unpredictable. They can happen in a split second and leave you with significant injuries and no clear path forward to deal with the aftermath.
At the scene, things can become chaotic and overwhelming quickly. It is only natural to feel confused and find it difficult to remain calm and think clearly. While this is true, the steps you take in the moments, hours, and days after a car accident matter. Knowing what to do (and what to avoid) can help you protect your rights if you file a car accident claim.
Critical Steps to Take After a Car Accident in New Haven
1. Ensure Your Safety
After an accident, you should remain at the scene. If you leave, you may face criminal hit-and-run charges.
You should also move your vehicle out of traffic if you can. If you cannot move your vehicle, you should get out and move to safety. Be sure to turn your vehicle off before doing this to reduce the possibility of a fire.
Take time to assess the situation. After an accident, your adrenaline will be pumping. Stay calm since getting angry will likely only worsen the situation.
You should check for any injuries. Assess yourself and your passengers. If you can check on people in other vehicles involved in the accident, too. If you are injured, try to stay where you are unless you are not safe.
Call the police immediately. You need to provide as much information about the accident as you can, including the location, any injuries, if the road is blocked, and anything else you may think is relevant.
2. Prioritize Safety
As mentioned above, safety should be the priority after a car accident. Turn your vehicle’s hazard lights on to make it more visible to other drivers, and stay off the road. You need to move as far away from traffic as you can. If fuel leaks from any of the vehicles, alert the authorities when they arrive and move somewhere safe. Avoid smoking since this can cause the fuel to ignite.
3. Gather Evidence and Information
After a car accident, you may feel helpless. However, you can start collecting evidence and information while you are there.
Get information from the other driver, including their name, contact information, and insurance information. Some other information to collect while at the accident scene includes the following:
- Time and date of the accident
- Note if any passengers were in the other vehicles
- Missing traffic signs
- Driving conditions (weather, road hazards, etc.)
Take photos or videos of the accident scene, damage to your vehicle, and any physical injuries on your body. You can also look around for potential sources of video footage of what happened. Many people have dashcams, and if businesses are nearby, their surveillance system may have captured the accident. This footage can be helpful if you file a claim against the at-fault party.
4. Get Medical Treatment
You may not seek medical treatment if you do not feel like you were injured in an accident. However, some injuries can take hours, days, or longer to appear. If you do not get a full medical evaluation, the injuries may become serious before you realize they exist.
Also, you have documentation of the injuries you sustained by going to the doctor or emergency room right after a car accident. This documentation will be helpful if you file a lawsuit.
5. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
After an accident, taking steps can help you protect your safety and rights. You should also discuss the situation with an attorney to determine if you have a case worth pursuing. The sooner you contact a New Haven car accident lawyer, the better. This will ensure a lawyer has time to review your case and help you recover the maximum compensation possible.