Getting into a car accident can be both scary and stressful, especially if someone involved was injured or if there was damage to the vehicles involved. It’s important to stay calm throughout and to follow these below steps any time you get into a Fresno car accident.
1. Make Sure Everyone Is Safe / Get Off the Road
Before you do anything else, make sure that everyone in your vehicle is okay. If possible, pull over to the side of the road to avoid oncoming traffic. Then get out of your car to check on the passengers of the other vehicle(s) involved. Get off the road if at all possible. Do not stay in the middle of the road parked. This puts you and your occupants in considerable danger. Just pull your vehicle to the shoulder and out of the way of oncoming traffic.
Be sure to examine everyone in your own car for physical injuries, and plan to see a doctor afterwards to inspect for internal injuries. Whiplash is a common occurrence, even after the smallest of accidents, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
2. Call the Police – You Will Regret Not Having a Police Report Later
If there are injuries, multiple cars involved, a serious accident, or you can’t pull off the road because of damage, call 911 and explain the situation. If it’s a minor accident, you can call 911 and tell the operator that you need to be redirected to the local station to report an accident, or look up the direct phone number to the local police department on your smartphone.
The police can help to dispute which driver is at fault and write up a report for you to take to your insurance to get any damage on your vehicle repaired. It is not necessarily illegal to exchange insurance information and leave the scene, especially if there was little to no damage, but it is highly recommended that you stay and wait for the police. It can be more difficult for a Fresno car accident lawyer to prosecute your case if you do not notify the police. Why? Because the at fault party can, and likely will, change their story and try to blame you for the accident. We have seen this happen hundreds of times. That is why we suggest contacting the police and getting them involved.
3. Do Not Admit Fault
Even if it seems like you were obviously at fault in the accident, it is important that you do not admit this to the other driver. Do not apologize for the accident as this can seem like admitting guilt. Instead, wait for the police to gather the facts and determine who is at fault.
4. Take Photographs, Video and Get the Names and Numbers of Witnesses
If there were any witnesses around who saw the accident happen, or if anyone pulled over to help after seeing the accident, ask them what they saw and get their contact information. Take photos of where each car was after the accident along with any damage. These testimonies can help with your case.
5. Contact a Fresno Car Accident Lawyer
Some accidents are cut and dried and don’t require legal counsel, but many accidents aren’t. If you’re facing issues with getting your vehicle repaired or your medical bills covered, call an experienced Fresno auto accident lawyer at The May Firm. We can help to make sure you receive the maximum compensation after your auto accident.
To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today.