Legal Corner with your Christian Attorney Mark F. Viencek
Law Offices of Mark F. Viencek
290 Linden Oaks, Rochester, NY 14625
(585) 419-8075 or Toll free 1-866-33voice
What To Do Immediately After A Motor Vehicle Accident
By Mark F. Viencek
It’s very difficult to think clearly right after a motor vehicle accident. Even if you escape injury, your body has been jarred to some degree and you’re upset, shaken, scared, etc. I was in a car accident not too long ago and experienced some of these emotions. And even I – with all my experience representing injured individuals in auto accident cases – found it difficult to focus and take care of the essentials after the collision. Since most people will inevitably be involved in a motor vehicle accident at some point in their lives, this article should benefit most readers of the paper.
Here’s what you should do immediately after an accident (assuming you’re physically able to do so that is). First, take a deep breath, compose yourself, and think about what just happened and what you are going to say before you say it. This is especially important when it comes to speaking with the police officer who arrives on the scene. I have seen many instances where clients used the wrong words or phraseology to explain what happened which ended up being very detrimental to their insurance claim. I can’t stress enough how important this is. Think before you speak.
Second, if possible, take a photo showing where both vehicles came to rest, before they are moved. Do it from different angles showing where the vehicles are in relation to the roadway or intersection. These photos could end up being very important on the issue of who’s at fault.
Third, take photos of the damage to your vehicle and the damage to the other vehicle. Take them from multiple angles showing all damage. The angle of impact can help recreate what happened and who was at fault. It’s critically important that you do this at the scene of the accident because you may never get another chance to capture these photos once the cars are towed away, particularly the other driver’s.
Fourth, look around for witnesses. There’s nothing like the statement of an independent
witness when it comes to proving who’s at fault. Fifth, make sure you get the name, address and phone number of any witness. This is much more important than you think, as many incorrectly assume that the police officer will put a witness’s name and contact info on the police accident report. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve obtained a police accident report in an accident involving an eye witness only to discover that the officer did not put the witness’s contact info on the report. Consequently, in most of those cases, I was never able to find the witness.
Sixth, make sure you get the other driver’s contact info and the name of his/her insurance company. The police officer should give you what’s called an Accident Information Exchange Form which contains the other driver’s contact info and a three digit code which identifies his/her insurance company. It is critical that you get this code and confirm the other driver is insured, because if they aren’t, there are steps that need to be taken legally to protect your interests and not a lot of time to do them.
Hopefully, this article will be something you can think back on should you ever have the unfortunate experience of being involved in an auto accident.
About the Author: Christian attorney Mark F. Viencek has over 25 years experience. He has developed a reputation as a voice people trust and a first point of contact for those looking for advice, direction, and the highest level of representation possible.
All articles that have appeared in Legal Corner are available on Mark’s website.