You didn't want one. And you certainly didn't need one.
Attorneys at Pusch and Nguyen have over 30 years of combined experience dealing with exactly the type of situation you or a loved one will face. They have assembled a helpful guide for what to do (and not do) after an accident.
1 CHECK YOUR HEALTH
Most accidents aren't going to cause serious bodily injury.
But because of the shock of being in an accident, it's important you take inventory of what you're physically feeling before doing anything else.
If you can't move, stay put and wait for medical assistance. If you are good and able to move, check on the driver of the other car or cars involved.
If you smell gas or see fire, move to a safe space away from traffic and the accident site until police, fire or paramedic units arrive.
2 ONLY MOVE YOUR CAR IF YOU HAVE TO
Check to make sure the car is no longer moving, it's in park, and the engine is shut off. Put your hazard lights on, and take a second to gather yourself. This isn't normal. And your adrenaline is pumping - even in a minor accident.
Before you get out of the car, check to see if it's safe and that other vehicles aren't too close to exit easily.
As you assess the situation, if you're able to move safely to the side of the road - do so. Otherwise it's best to leave the accident scene in-tact.
3 CONTACT THE POLICE?
You've probably heard at some point you should call the police after any car accident.
That's not always the case.
Here are helpful guidelines for knowing if you need to call 9-1-1:
- If there is serious damage to any vehicle involved
- If you suspect alcohol or drugs are involved
- If there are injuries at the scene of the accident
- If the accident is in an area of high traffic and other cars are blocked
- If the other driver(s) are being uncooperative in exchanging information
If no one is hurt, property damage is minimal and the accident is not creating an obstacle for other vehicles in the area, you can move to a safe area, collect the right information (see step 4 below) and file a police report within 24 hours of the accident and be just fine.
4 GET THE RIGHT INFORMATION FROM OTHERS INVOLVED
Here's the info you're going to want to get:
- Names and contact information of people involved (driver and any passengers)
- License plate numbers of all vehicles involved
- Insurance information of all vehicles involved
- Makes and car models
- Location information of the accident
- Contact information if there were any witnesses
- Contact information of any responding officers
5 TAKE PICTURES
This is one of those times where you can take as many pics as you want and nobody is going to judge!
In fact, it's going to be helpful for everyone to have as much documentation as possible. Here are some basic images to capture:
- Any damage to your vehicle
- Any damage to other vehicles involved
- A wide shot of the accident scene
- All license plates
- Any items that may have cause the accident (objects in road, faulty sings, faulty signals)
- The general area where the accident took place
- Any other items you think are out of the ordinary
"It is very important to document vehicle damage before the vehicle is repaired, and any injuries you sustained before they are no longer visible or before they are healed." attorney Anthony Pusch advised.
6 DON'T ARGUE, DON'T BLAME & DON'T ADMIT FAULT
Deep breath. DEEP breath.
You're going to be late for work. You're going to miss part of your kids' game. And you're going to want to let the other driver know exactly what you think about them at that particular moment.
You've already gathered the right information. You've made sure that they're physically OK. You've taken pictures of the scene. The police are in route.
There's no need for further interaction.
In the history of driving, no good has ever come from letting the other driver know what you think about their driving skills.
Most importantly, don't admit fault.
"Even in minor accidents, a police accident report can prove invaluable when dealing with your car insurance company and other drivers," attorney Chi Nguyen said. "Cooperate fully, but avoid admitting fault or blaming others while at the scene. Let the police objectively judge events and determine who, if anyone, is at fault in the crash."
The officer or officers on the way have seen many accidents and will do a professional and thorough job determining what happened. There may be things that you didn't notice that caused the accident.
When they ask you questions, be direct and to the point.
By staying calm and sticking to the facts, you'll make it easy for an objective police report to be made.
7 SEEK A PROFESSIONAL ADVOCATE
Chances are you haven't been in a ton of accidents. You don't deal with insurance companies often (besides paying your bills faithfully). And you certainly aren't aware of all the ins and outs of the roadblocks that will come up to separate you from your rightful compensation.
Pusch & Nguyen are here to HELP.
Their consultations are always 100 percent free. And they take $0 unless they win... for you.
They have seen too many people get unfairly treated by 'the system'. They've made it their mission to fight for the rights of people that don't know what they're getting into after a car or truck accident.
They walk you through the entire process, explain in plain language all of your options, and make sure that you get back to being whole as soon as possible.
You can stop by their new office at 6330 Gulf Freeway, call (713) 524-8139 or visit PuschNguyen.com to start the conversation about getting you back to normal after an accident.
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