As much as we may wish to be the safest drivers possible, accidents can still happen. Perhaps a brief distraction leads to a fender bender or maybe a glare from the sun caused a miscalculation, resulting in a more severe accident. Regardless of the incident, it’s necessary to follow the right steps in order to avoid making a tricky situation more difficult than it has to be.
If you find yourself in a car accident in New Mexico, then the Law Office of W. Shane Jennings can help. Continue reading to learn more about what you should do in the event of a car accident.
First Step: Check Yourself and Your Passenger(s) For Injuries
Before you get out of your car, you must assess your own well-being. If you’re injured, call 911 if you’re able to. If you can’t physically call emergency services, ask someone nearby to do so. If you have any passengers in your vehicle, check their injuries as well. Although a million thoughts may be rushing through your head, you still need to make sure you’re safe. If you’ve suffered from an injury, you need to prioritize the arrival of emergency personnel.
Second Step: Move to a Safe Location and Call the Police
This step also requires several factors in order to fully understand the right decision to make. If your vehicle is causing a hazard and it can move and it is safe to do so, drive to a shoulder or somewhere away from the main road. If your car cannot move, turn off the engine, turn on the hazard lights and leave it where it is, then get yourself and your passengers to safety. Once you’re in a safe location, contact 911. This is necessary no matter the severity of the accident. Everything from fender benders to rollovers necessitates the intervention of the police. This is because the police officer will fill out an accident report as well as document the scene.
Third Step: Exchange Information With the Other Driver (or Drivers)
This is, understandably so, the most awkward and perhaps heated step of the entire process. Let’s say you rear-ended a vehicle on the freeway and you both pull over to the shoulder. Perhaps the driver you hit is irate and they start yelling at you for hitting their car. As difficult as it may sound, it’s necessary to remain calm and collected in these scenarios. Anything you say can be seen as an admission of guilt on your part. Saying “I’m sorry” or “it’s my fault” may feel like the natural reaction but it may lead to further issues. If possible, just exchange information with the other individual. This information includes the full name and contact information, insurance company and policy number, driver’s license and license plate number, the location of the accident, as well as the color, type, and model of the vehicle.
Fourth Step: Do Your Best To Document the Accident
Almost everyone has a camera on his or her smartphone. Use your camera to your advantage and document the scene of the accident. Make sure to also take pictures of the street (skidmarks) or of the weather or traffic. All of this will come in handy in the future and will more-than-likely facilitate your case. Car accidents are very stressful but they can become more stressful if the other party or the insurance company complicate the situation. This is where a car accident lawyer can help.
If you’re in need of legal assistance following a car accident, the Law Firm of W. Shane Jennings can help. Give us a call as soon as your accident takes place (preferably after the fourth step) so we can get to work on your case!