Auto accidents result in the deaths of over 33,500 people and the injuries of approximately 3.3 million people every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
When a car accident happens, we know that you may become flustered, emotionally shocked, and perhaps physically injured. For the citizens of Portland and Oregon, there are important steps to take after a car wreck to make certain that your rights are protected.
What to do following a crash
If you have been in a car wreck, the following steps will help gather the essential information that your car accident attorney will need to work on your case:
- Pull over to a safe, well lit area away from traffic and turn on your hazard lights.
- Check yourself and the others involved for injuries. They may not always be obvious after an accident, but it is important to check anyway. If there are significant injuries, call for an ambulance.
- If there are significant injuries, call 911 and request a police officer come to the scene.
- File a DMV report and retain a copy. This will contain important information that is needed to pursue a claim as a result of your motor vehicle collision.
- Speak to witnesses and obtain ways of contacting them in the future. If a witness does not want to get involved, do not force them. There may be other eyewitnesses who will be happy to talk to you and provide their contact details. If nobody volunteers, ask those who may stop if they would please share their contact information with you.
- Take notes. Ensure that you record the date, the time, and the locations of the vehicles after the crash, including any debris. Note impact zones and the events that occurred as you remember them. Describe how the collision occurred. This is important as memory can fade over time, and you may be asked to recall this information later.
- Get the other driver’s information including their name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, insurance company name and policy number, and make, model, and year of their car.
- Take pictures. You should take photos of the accident scene, the cars involved, as well as any injuries you or your loved ones may have suffered.
Additionally, make sure to document all medical visits and treatment, as well as obtaining estimates of property damage. An experienced auto accident attorney needs this information to put together a persuasive case for settlement negotiations or a jury trial.