You might be involved in a motor vehicle accident in Connecticut at some point, so it is important to find out what you should and should not be doing to help develop your personal injury case.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports there were 6,024,000 police-reported motor vehicle accidents in 2007. There were 2,491,000 people injured on those accidents. These figures demonstrate the odds are one day you may be involved in a motor vehicle accident. After the motor vehicle accident has occurred, the first thing to think about is safety. You want to prevent another vehicle becoming involved in the collision.
If it is a minor accident, it may be wise to move your vehicle out of traffic flow. If you cannot move your vehicle, turn on your hazard lights and place warning cones or triangles behind and in front of your vehicle. Dependent on the location of the accident, determine whether it is safer to remain in your vehicle with your seat belt on or to stand away from traffic hazards.
Safety is a priority and good judgment is required. It is imperative you keep calm after a motor vehicle accident. This will protect you in the event you suffer personal injuries and need the assistance of witnesses and others in pursuing compensation. All drivers should have a crash kit in their vehicle. Items to include in your crash kit are a cellphone, hazard cones or triangles, pen and paper and digital camera. This article details information you should obtain after an accident and would be helpful to keep in your crash kit.
After you have ensured the safety of yourself and others, you should do the following:
1) Take photographs of the accident scene. The pictures should show the relative position of the vehicles involved, together with damage to those vehicles.
2) Note the location of the motor vehicle accident. Write down the intersection or closest address, time of day and date.
3) Exchange information with the other driver(s). List the names of the owner and driver of the other vehicle(s). Include their address, driver's license number, telephone number, year and make of their vehicle, license plate number, whether they were wearing their seatbelt or suffered any injuries. If there are other occupants in the vehicle, obtain their names, addresses, telephone numbers, whether they were wearing seatbelts or suffered injuries.
4) If the police attend the accident scene, obtain the name of the investigating officer, law enforcement agency name and case number. Also indicate if any citations were issued and to whom.
5) Document the road conditions. Were the roads wet, dry, icy? Were your headlights on? Did the other vehicle have their headlights on? Were the brake lights functioning on your vehicle? Did the other vehicle have working brake lights? Was your turn signal on? Was the other vehicle's turn signal blinking?
6) Detail your actions and the other driver's actions just prior to the motor vehicle accident. Indicate the speed you were traveling, the estimated speed of the other driver and the posted speed limit. Describe any evasive actions you took to avoid the accident, as well as maneuvers by the other driver to avoid the accident. If there are traffic controls at the motor vehicle accident site, specify what the controls were, the traffic signal color, if applicable, and who had the right of way.
7) Get the full names of any witnesses to the motor vehicle accident. Be sure to include their complete address and telephone number.
A motor vehicle accident is traumatic. Being fully prepared beforehand will help eliminate some stress and ensure that you are in the best position possible to begin the process of obtain compensation for damages to your vehicle and injuries suffered.
Before you hire a lawyer, speak to an insurance adjuster, or sign any paperwork contact Hastings, Cohan & Walsh, LLP to get our FREE copy of our book The Crash Course on Personal Injury Claims in Connecticut.