A Car Accident Happened. Now What?

12715Most drivers like to think that they are in control of their own destiny while they are behind the wheel, taking comfort in the fact that their experiences driving will lead them to the correct decisions to avoid a collision and remain safe while traveling. Unfortunately, though, everyone makes mistakes and often those mistakes can turn into car accidents, some of which may be serious.

Even if you manage to drive perfectly at all times in Maricopa County, the harsh reality is that you can still be involved in a collision. Though your personal conduct does have a lot to do with your safety, the actions of other motorists also play a role and can be the difference between an accident-free trip and one that is marred in tragedy. In fact, the average American driver will be involved in nearly three car crashes during her lifetime, and only a small number of people will avoid collisions in their entirety.

If you realize that you can be an accident victim at any moment, you may begin to wonder what you should do when a collision occurs. After years of representing personal injury victims and their families, the legal team at Abels & Annes, P.C. suggests that you keep the following in mind in case you are involved in a crash:

  • Do Not Leave the Scene – The laws in Arizona are very clear that all motorists involved in car accidents must remain at the scene to provide information to others and/or until cleared by local police. Failing to do so may be a misdemeanor or potentially even a felony, a crime that could result in incarceration in a jail or prison. There are very limited exceptions to this rule so if a crash happens to you, do not flee but rather wait until you are cleared to leave.
  • Check for Injuries – The most serious thing that can happen in a car crash is for the people involved to be injured or even killed. Health and safety is a priority so if you are involved in an accident, check with those in your vehicle to see if they are hurt. If so, call an ambulance for immediate help as any delays in treatment can lead to much worse injuries. If you are not hurt, check on those in any other car involved. They may be injured and unable to call for help themselves.
  • Get Yourself to a Safe Spot – Often, car accidents are minor and produce no real injuries. If that happens to you and if your vehicle is in the middle of a busy roadway, make sure you prevent any further harm by getting yourself to a safe location. This may mean exiting your vehicle and walking to a nearby parking lot to wait for police or it may mean pulling your car over to the shoulder of the road. However, if the accident caused you harm, focus on getting medical help and not on the fact that your damaged vehicle may be blocking the roadway.
  • Contact Authorities – Call the police in the city or municipality in which your crash took place to report the incident. In most cases, an officer will respond to the scene and will talk to the drivers involved in an effort to compile information to create a police report.
  • Aid in the Investigation – Whether you believe an error on your part or on the part of another driver caused the crash, tempers and frustrations among all are likely to be running high. Some accident victims air their frustrations by yelling at another driver, the police officer, or even witnesses in the area but such displays are unlikely to help the situation. Instead, if you are uninjured, do your best to remain calm. Help the investigation by cooperating with police and with other motorists. Be prepared to provide information like your driver’s license and your insurance when asked for it, either by a driver or by an officer. Participating in the investigation will not only help move the process along but will also make sure that you get an opportunity to describe the events of the crash in your own words.
  • If Needed, Seek Help – Ideally, car accidents would never take place or at a minimum, they would not result in injuries. Often, though, physical harm is done in a crash and victims are left wondering about their legal options as a result. If you were injured and you need help, consider contacting a personal injury lawyer to help you with the process of recovery as you rebound from your crash.

The legal team at Abels & Annes, P.C. understands that accidents can have a major impact on your life. From the need for medical treatment to time you missed from work while recovering, from pain and suffering to any permanent harm you may sustain, we understand crashes in their entirety. If you have questions or if you are looking for help, call us today toll free at (855) PHX-LAWYER or locally at (602) 819-5191 and let us provide you with a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation. If we represent you, we will never charge you a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf and we will always fight for the best possible outcome.

Prior Blog Entry:

Distracted Driving: A Fatal Mistake, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published December 3, 2015.