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Cape Cod Personal Injury Blog

What should I do if I've been in an accident?

t's one of the things that crosses everyone's mind from time to time: What if I'm in an accident? You may not worry about it every time you get behind the wheel, but you know you need to be prepared, just in case.  Part of that preparation may include finding the right personal injury lawyer to represent you if you are injured in a car or motorcycle accident.  But that's not the only thing you'll need to do.

So, if something happens -- if another driver collides with you -- what do you do next?  This simple checklist should help walk you through the necessary steps you should take in the critical minutes, hours, and days following a car or motorcycle accident.

  1. Make sure everyone is OK: Before you do anything else, take stock of your surroundings. Are you in pain?  Can you move around?  Are your passengers all right?  Is the driver of the other vehicle OK?  What about his or her passengers?  Is it safe to exit the car?  Can you move your car out of the flow of traffic?  Taking stock of the situation is the vital first step.  If anyone needs medical treatment, dial 9-1-1 right away and administer first aid.  If your car is drivable, move it to a safe location out of the flow of traffic.  Otherwise, remain calm and try to keep other drivers clear of the scene using flashers or flares.
  2. Call the police: If you believe that there is a chance that anyone involved in the accident -- yourself, any of your passengers, the other driver, any of his or her passengers, or any bystander -- has been injured, you should contact the local police department. If someone requires immediate medical attention, dial 9-1-1 right away. Otherwise, it's OK to call a non-emergency police number, especially if the accident is not blocking traffic.  Having a police report of the scene of the accident can be very important in the event of a claim for injury.
  3. Look around: It can be very helpful to keep a small notepad and a pen or pencil in your car to take notes in case of an emergency, especially an accident. Jot down the date, the time, the nature and location of the accident, and any other details that seem important, like the other vehicle's license plate number or the weather. Note any malfunctioning traffic signals or unclear signage, like a missing or obscured stop sign. If you can, take photographs of the scene, including the damage to all vehicles involved.
  4. Exchange information: If you are able to communicate with the other driver(s), it is a good idea to exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information. Note the make and model of the other vehicle(s). If the driver admits fault, remember to write down the exact words he or she used.  If the driver is not the owner of the car, ask who is, and get their information as well.  If the driver is driving a vehicle bearing the name of a business, or if you have reason to think he or she was driving within the scope of his or her employment, get the name, address, and telephone number of the business, and a person to contact there who is authorized to speak about accidents.  It's also a good idea to talk to any witnesses to the accident and to get their names.  Don't forget to get a copy of the police report, as well as the responding officer's name and badge number.  And remember: Do not discuss the events of the accident with anyone except the police, and do not admit fault to anyone.
  5. Get medical treatment: If you are in pain following a car accident, seek medical treatment immediately. Even if you feel OK after an accident, consider making an appointment as soon as possible with your primary care physician.  Continue to get medical treatment until your injuries are healed.  Do not let worries about cost keep you from seeking treatment for your injuries: Every auto liability policy written in Massachusetts includes Personal Injury Protection insurance.  That means, if you have a Massachusetts auto policy, you are entitled to at least $2,000 worth of coverage, paid for directly by your auto insurer. Read more about PIP coverage here.
  6. Contact a personal injury attorney: If you are injured, you may be entitled to compensation, including assistance with medical bills, reimbursement for lost wages, and compensation for other injuries including pain and suffering. To help you evaluate your claim, it is wise to contact an attorney in your area who specializes in personal injury law. That attorney can help you deal with your insurance company, as well as with the other driver's insurer, and can assist with any complications that may arise.

The Cape Cod law firm of Goldberg & Weigand, LLP, specializes in personal injury law.  Our Cape Cod injury lawyers are experienced in car accident and motorcycle accident claims and can guide you through the process of making a claim for injuries, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages suffered because of another person's actions or negligence.  And at Goldberg & Weigand, there is never a fee for our services unless we successfully resolve your case and you get compensation for your injuries.  Call (508) 775-9099 or (800) 439-5252, 24 hours a day, to set up a free consultation with one of our experienced Cape Cod injury attorneys.

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