Getting into a car accident is a rough experience. There are often injuries, a lot of damage to the vehicle, and even the risk of injuring onlookers or pedestrians minding their own business. It’s never a fun experience but it is made even worse when it wasn’t your fault. Getting involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault has an extra layer of frustration that makes the whole experience a real bad time.

But it’s still important, even when you’re not the one at fault, to handle the accident in the proper manner. This means that there are things you should do at the scene of the accident that will make life easier when you and your attorney are dealing with the situation. There are also a number of things that you should not do at the scene of an accident because they’ll only make life harder down the road. We’ll look at both of these categories below, then close out with a look at what you should do once you’ve left the scene of the accident.

What Should I Do At the Scene of the Accident?

There is quite a bit that needs to be done at the scene of the accident. Many people fail to do everything listed below. That’s okay. Car accidents are exciting and terrifying, this, in turn, triggers the body’s adrenaline. After the adrenaline fades, the body crashes and this has a profound effect on the mind. As such, it can be difficult to remember everything to do at the scene of the crash.

Just do your best and try to do as many of the applicable tasks listed below as possible:

  • Contact the Police: Nobody really likes getting the police involved but, legally, you really should. If there has been a death or an injury, or damages of more than $1,000, then you have to get the police involved, period.
  • Take Photographs: Photographs of the scene of the accident are very important. Eventually, the vehicles will be moved; while you can still get photos of the damages after this, the photos won’t tell as much about the scene of the accident itself. So try to get photos quickly.
  • Gather Information: Most people understand that they are supposed to get the contact information of any driver involved in the crash, but most people underestimate the importance of gathering contact information from witnesses and those nearby. These witnesses can help to corroborate your story of how the accident occurred.
  • Check Injuries: Obviously, you are going to check on the medical condition of yourself and anybody else in the car with you, but it is also important that you check on anybody else involved in the crash. You owe them “reasonable assistance in securing medical aid or arrang[ing] for or provid[ing[ transportation to any injured individual,” according to (MCL 257.619(c)).

What Shouldn’t I Do At the Scene of the Accident?

Just as there are things you should do at the scene, there are also things you should not do. These include:

  • Ignoring the Police: Minor accidents may seem like the police aren’t necessary but it can be hard to judge the damage done to a vehicle and therefore it’s hard to tell whether an accident has gone above the $1,000 minimum required for police. Contacting the police also results in a police report which can be useful later.
  • Moving Your Vehicle (Depending): This is something that you would normally do. However, if there was serious impairment of bodily function or death as a result of the accident then legally you must wait until law enforcement has arrived and ordered the vehicle moved.
  • Talk to an Insurance Adjuster: They will do their best to try to get you to say something that implies it was your fault or other tactics that they can use to reduce how much they pay out later. Always wait until you have an attorney to speak to insurance.
  • Leave the Scene: This should go without saying but it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident before everything has been done. Always wait until law enforcement gives you the okay to leave the scene.

What Should I Do After Leaving the Scene of the Accident?

Once you leave the scene of the accident, there are still more actions you can take such as:

  • Seeking Medical Attention: It is okay if you were too injured to stay at the scene of the accident and so left to seek medical attention. However, if you’ve waited until the police have come and everything is settled, it’s always a good idea to seek medical attention afterward. We often suffer injuries we don’t immediately notice.
  • Gathering More Evidence: Reach out to witnesses, gather photos or videos from the scene, get the medical report, write out a report of everything you remember about the accident. This is all material that an attorney can use later to help ensure you get the proper compensation.
  • Document Your Injuries: Take photos of your injuries after the accident but continue to take photos and document the healing process until you’ve fully recovered. These are used to prove that the accident resulted in injuries that you can seek damages for.
  • Get the Police Report: The police report allows you to verify that your version of events was accurately reported. It also will let you see if the driver who was at fault changed their story.

Should I Get an Attorney After My Car Accident in Michigan?

Absolutely. An attorney, such as those you’ll find at Barrix Law Firm, is the best bet for ensuring you are properly compensated. They’ll work with you to make sure that your insurance company doesn’t try to pull the wool over your eyes with a lowball offer. They’ll also go to bat for you against the other driver in the courtroom if it comes to that.

But, perhaps the best thing an attorney can do, is to help you through each step of the process. They understand what goes into recovering from a car or truck accident. There are a lot of questions about insurance, tracking damages, and more. An attorney can make a confusing and scary process into an easy one and you owe it to yourself to take it easy after what you’ve just gone through.