What to Do After An Auto Accident

At the accident scene and during the hours and days after an accident, there are important steps you can take, both to determine the full extent of your injuries and to protect your legal rights.

Insurance adjusters are quick to take advantage of any mistakes you make. As such, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible after you are injured in an accident. For honest answers to questions regarding your legal rights, call the Plyler Law Firm.

What To Do After An Auto Accident
Suggestion - Print a copy of these steps to keep in your car so you will be prepared
in the event you are in an accident.

1. Stop your car, no matter how minor the accident.
North Carolina law requires that the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in personal injury, death, or property damage must stop his or her vehicle at the scene of the accident.

2. Assist any injured persons.
Your first duty, after stopping your car, is to assist any injured persons. North Carolina law requires that you render reasonable assistance to any injured person. If someone is seriously injured, call an ambulance. Make the injured person comfortable, but do not move them unless you know what you are doing.

3. Protect the scene.
If it is safe to do so, you are best off to not move the vehicles until after law enforcement has arrived. If the car poses a safety threat to other traffic if not moved, however, you should move it. Use common sense.

4. Call the police or highway patrol.
North Carolina law requires that drivers of vehicles involved in auto accidents resulting in personal injury, death, or total property damage of $500 or more, must immediately contact the local police department, highway patrol, sheriffís department or other appropriate law enforcement agency by the quickest means available.

5. Identify the other drivers.
Be certain that you get the other driverís address, telephone number and insurance information. Also be sure to write down the license plate number of the other vehicle.

6. Identify witnesses.
As soon as possible, get the names, addresses and telephone numbers from all witnesses. Although they should stay around until the police arrive, surprisingly often they leave beforehand. These witnesses may be critical to your claim, so get this information as soon as possible.

7. Gather other information.
As soon as possible, write down a description of how the accident occurred, including the time, place, weather and road conditions, and a detailed explanation of how the accident occurred. Draw diagrams of the road(s) and the positions of the vehicles before and after the impact. Do not give these to anyone other than your attorney. Be sure to keep the information exchange slip that the law enforcement officer will provide. Several days after the accident, you will also want to get a copy of the accident report.

8. Take photos of the accident scene.
As soon as practical, go back to the accident scene and take photographs. Be sure to include landmarks such as signs or buildings so that it will be easy to describe what the pictures show later. Try to include any skid marks, damage to the grass, trees or shrubbery, and look for any small car parts that might still be on the ground. Donít skimp on the film here. You may want to shoot an entire roll of film, getting every angle and direction.

9. Take photos of damage to the vehicle.
Donít skimp on the film here either. Shoot all angles, both close up and farther back. Take photos of all parts and all sides of the vehicle. Again, you may want to shoot another entire roll of film.

10. Do not make any comments.
North Carolina law requires you to give your name, address, drivers license number and vehicle registration number to the driver or occupants of the other vehicle. Other than this, be careful of what you say, particularly when it involves any estimates or speculation. For example, your estimate of speeds at the scene will almost without fail, be wrong. Be very careful about what you say.

11. Listen carefully.
Listen to everything that the other driver says. What they say can be used to help your claim. If, for example, they apologize and say that they did not see you, remember it and write it down. A simple apology is basically an admission of fault.

12. Go to the Emergency Room or to your family physician immediately.
Even though you might not think you are hurt after an accident, you may actually be. The adrenalin rush and stress caused by an accident often hide the full extent of the injuries. There may be internal injuries that you are not aware of. Be certain to tell the doctors that you were in an auto accident and describe anything that you are feeling that is unusual, no matter how minor, as the doctor may recognize it as a symptom of a more serious problem. Be sure also to let them know of any older injuries that might have been aggravated.

13. Call your insurance company.
Call your insurance company about the accident even if the other driver was at fault. Do not, however give them any recorded statements or written statements until after you have consulted with an attorney first and gotten his or her approval.

Never give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster without consulting with an attorney first. No matter what you say, you will say something wrong and the insurance company will use it against you to try to keep from paying you what you are entitled to. If the adjuster wants a statement, have him or her call your attorney.

15. Take photos of your injuries.
Donít skimp on the film here either. Take photos of all cuts, bruises, casts, bandages, seat belt marks, and abrasions. If you are hospitalized, have someone take photographs of you in the room, showing the various angles to include everything that you are hooked up to. (If you are actually admitted to the hospital, almost any attorney worth talking to will come to assist with this.). Again, don't skimp on the film - a picture is worth a thousand words.

16. Start a diary.
Start a daily record of all pains and inconveniences that you are suffering from as a result of the accident and your injuries. Write down everything. Give it to your attorney only.

17. Keep records of missed time from work.
You may be entitled to recover for your lost wages, so keep an accurate record of all time that you are away from your job.

At the Plyler Law Firm, we will do everything we can to help you following your injury. If you canít come to us, we will be happy to accommodate your schedule and needs by coming to your home or to the hospital. When you call the Plyler Law Firm, you can also rest assured that you will have direct contact with an actual attorney, not just support staff as many law firms now limit their clients to. Even if you do not call the Plyler Law Firm, we encourage you to at least call some attorney. Whether its us or someone else, you need someone with experience on your side to protect your legal rights.

If you or a family member has been injured in an automobile accident due to another person's negligence, call Matthew R. Plyler directly at (910) 483-4LAW (4529) for a free consultation. This consultation is without obligation to you and we do not receive any attorney's fees unless we are successful in recovering money for you. We will also be happy to come to your home, office, or to the hospital,whichever is most convenient to you.

NEW!! - Do I have a Case?
If you were injured in North Carolina due to someone
else's negligence, submit a confidential request
and an attorney will review your situation.
To find out if you have a case, you may contact Mr. Plyler by email by clicking here. Please include your name, address, day and evening phone numbers, a description of the accident and injury, and the date on which it occurred.

When you need someone to protect your rights, call the Plyler Law Firm.

Accident and Traffic Legal Center of Fayetteville
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 53987
Fayetteville, NC 28305-3987

Telephone - (910) 483-4LAW (4529)
Fax - (910) 483-7144

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