Personal Injury Series, Article 1: What Do I Do If I Am In An Auto Accident?

In the first few minutes after an auto accident, it is easy to forget to take action to protect your legal rights.  In this article, Bruce S. Rutsky, Attorney at Law, has summarized the steps you should take if you are involved in an auto accident.

First, stop your car.  If you are involved in a car accident, stop your car immediately.  In Ohio, if you do not stop and you leave the scene of an accident, you may be subject to criminal prosecution.  Leave your car as close as possible to the place of impact and call 911.  After stopping, remain at the scene until the police and/or medical personnel arrive.  Notify the police even if no one is injured.  A police report helps your insurance company with claims and will be useful in resolving any liability issues.

Exchange information with the other driver(s) and witnesses.  Exchanging pertinent information with the other driver(s), including name, address, telephone number, drivers license number and insurance company name, will assist you and your insurance company in resolving the damage to your car and any injury claim.  Also make sure you get the name, address and telephone number of any witnesses to the accident.

Do not admit responsibility.  When you exchange information, do not admit responsibility for the accident.  While you may think you were at fault, it may be discovered that the other driver(s) was also at fault.  Any statement you make may be used against you in a injury claim or lawsuit.

Obtain medical treatment if you are injured.  It is important to document your injuries through medical treatment, be it emergency room treatment, treatment with your family physician and/or treatment with medical specialists.  Your Hospitals’ and Doctors’ fees should be covered by your Health Insurance and/or your Medical Payment coverage with your insurance company.

Notify your insurance agent as soon as possible after an accident.  Some companies may deny coverage if not promptly informed.  Do not give a recorded statement to an insurance company representative without first consulting with an Attorney.  If you are considering making an injury claim, meet with an injury attorney to discuss your legal rights and responsibilities.  An injury attorney can assist you in recovering just compensation for your personal injuries and damages to your automobile.  There are many facets to an auto accident that insurance companies are familiar with that the average person in an auto accident is not aware of.  Put yourself on an even playing field by consulting with an injury attorney to protect your rights.

Written by Bruce S. Rutsky