Important Steps to Take If You Are In a Car Accident

  1. Regardless of fault, even if you feel you were not hurt, you should not automatically refuse medical treatment at the scene. Research indicates that even minor accidents can leave a person injured. Days later, real pain can set in and send a person to their doctor for treatment.   Refusing treatment is noted in the police report.
  2. If you are in a position to speak to the other driver, keep it simple.  Ask how they are, if they need medical attention, and then wait for police to arrive. Don’t admit fault. Don’t argue with them. And don’t say “I’m sorry,” or “I was in a rush and didn’t pay attention.”  Take the time to gather your thoughts.
  3. Tell the investigating officer what you can recall, but do not to include assumptions or guesses.  For instance, when asked the speed of the other car, or your car, make it clear you are estimating.
  4. Try not to move your car until the police arrive. If possible, take photos of your car, the other car, and — most importantly — a scene showing the entire view of the accident and where the cars ended up.
  5. Go home. When your mind is clear, write a diary  of the accident and include as many details as possible about where you were, where you were going, and what you actually recall.
  6. Report the accident to your insurance carrier ASAP. That is required under the terms of your policy.
  7. If you feel there is liability on the part of the other driver, see or call your lawyer for an opinion.
  8. Keep a careful record of who you talk to about the accident. Don’t sign a statement unless your lawyer approves it.  Be sure to cooperate with your insurance carriers (auto and health).
  9. If going for medical treatment, carefully explain what happened, and where you hurt to the nurse or doctor.  Those initial statements to your medical provider are a part of a record that can be obtained at a later date.  Be candid but careful in what you say. Stick to the facts.
  10. Your general practice doctor could be a good start, or if you have a spine or bone issue they might advise you go directly to an orthopedic specialist. Chiropractic doctors are also a good resource, and they can work in concert with an orthopedic practitioner.
  11. Follow the recommendations of your medical team.
  12. Remember, there is a statute that requires a lawsuit to be brought within a certain time frame. That is usually two years from the date of the accident.  If you attempt to  handle the case on your own without proper legal advice, you may exhaust the statute of limitations and find yourself with no remedy.  
  13. Auto accidents resulting in injuries to the driver or occupants are a commonplace occurrence, despite efforts to minimize those losses through the improvement of cars and other safety precautions. Before you decide to pursue a claim, seek the assistance and advice of an experienced personal injury attorney, who will guide you through the complex and often lengthy processes.

You can count on Ericson, Scalise & Mangan, PC to provide you with sound guidance and experience in these uncertain times. For assistance with your legal needs, please contact us today at (860) 229-0369, or email us at