After a car accident, you are likely to feel confused and unsure of what to do next. Injuries can sometimes be severe and your emotions will likely be high, but it is important that you know exactly what you should do while at the scene to preserve evidence.
Even if you do not intend to file a lawsuit in the future for your car accident in St. Louis, preserving this evidence will ensure a better outcome if you do decide to file later on. Visit here to learn more about how working with a St. Louis car accident lawyer can make all the difference in your case.
Check out the Missouri DMV to learn more about what to do after a car accident in St. Louis.
1. Stay at the Scene – Never leave the scene of an accident unless it is appropriate to do so—such as being taken away by emergency personnel. Leaving, especially when someone else has sustained injuries, could lead to criminal charges – whether you caused the accident or not.
2. Do a Safety Check – If you are able to do so, check on all passengers and drivers involved in the accident. Get emergency medical attention for those that are seriously injured by calling 911.
If someone is seriously injured or unconscious, do not move them; instead, wait for qualified medical help to arrive.
3. Call the Police – While police reports are mostly considered hearsay in court, they are still evidence and can be used to negotiate a better settlement. When the police do arrive, request the officer’s name and badge number as well as the police report number so that you may obtain a copy later on.
4. Exchange Information – It is imperative that you get information from the other driver(s), including his or her name, driver’s license number, license plate, make/model of vehicle, insurance information and contact information for the driver and their insurer.
5. Never Apologize – Apologizing or even saying “sorry” can be misconstrued as admitting guilt. It is important that you do not admit to anything or apologize in any way that can make you appear as the at-fault party. If the other party admits to anything, write it down.
6. Find Witnesses – If you are able to, find any witnesses at the scene of the accident that may be able to testify as to what happened. This can help determine who was at fault for the car accident in St. Louis.
You will not need to interview the witness right there at the scene; instead, request their contact information and you or your insurer or attorney may contact them later for a more formal statement.
7. Take Photos – If you have a camera or smartphone handy, do not forget to take photographs of the scene. This includes passengers and drivers, the vehicles, the placement of those vehicles, your surroundings and any weather.
These could play a critical role in determining fault or proving that any injury claims you have to file later on are legitimate.
Speak with A St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
Car accident claims are purposely complex. Therefore, you should seek counsel from an attorney even if you do not plan to file a suit. An attorney may be able to assist you with a better settlement from your own insurer or the other party’s insurance company so that you are not stuck paying for injuries and damages in an accident that was not your fault.
Learn more about how a St. Louis car accident lawyer can provide you with legal options and guidance to help you with your car accident claim.