There are few life events as shocking as a car accident. We almost never see them coming until somebody aggressively changing lanes sideswipes us, or a fatigued shift worker suddenly drifts across the center line.
In that moment, we are jolted into a situation where our next decision can have life-altering consequences.
Before contacting a car accident attorney in Salt Lake City, follow the steps outlined below to protect the life and property of all parties involved.
1) Remain at the scene
The seriousness of a wreck can lead some drivers to leave the scene in a panic – fight any impulse to do this.
Even if the accident wasn’t your fault, the legal system often views hitting and running as an admission of guilt/culpability.
As dazed as you might be in the immediate aftermath of a crash, note particulars about the other vehicle; should they attempt to get away, you’ll want to remember as many details as possible (license plate, make, model, color, etc) for when you give your statement to the police.
2) Check passengers in both vehicles for injuries
Next, you’ll want to check yourself, your passengers, and those in the other vehicle for injuries. If you are trained in first aid and have a kit in the car, deliver preliminary treatment.
You’ll need the consent of strangers to render first aid to them; however, if they are unconscious and their life is in immediate danger, most jurisdictions consider the victim to be giving implied consent.
3) Contact the police
If a bystander hasn’t already phoned 911, contact the authorities. When they arrive, they’ll have you and the other party fill out a report detailing what occurred, and they’ll do traffic control while tow trucks and other assets are called to deal with the mess.
4) Get insurance info from the other driver
Once injuries have been dealt with and police have secured the scene, make contact with the other driver to exchange insurance information.
Be cordial and respectful, but do not apologize for anything. In many parts of the USA, expressing regret or apologizing for an incident is viewed as an admission of guilt.
5) Contact a car accident lawyer
After receiving treatment for any injuries (gather all the medical documentation you can), taking plenty of pictures of your vehicle, and filing a claim with your insurance company, get in contact with a car accident lawyer.
After their initial consultation, they will be able to tell you whether you have a strong enough case to proceed with a civil suit.
If there is, then you will be able to pursue legal action against the driver, their insurance company, the local government, or any other culpable party who can be held liable for the pain, suffering, and damages you endured as a result of the accident in question.