FAQs - What to do after a car accident?
The law requires that you stop and exchange information with other parties involved in an accident - even if you are not at fault. You can face serious criminal charges for not stopping after an accident involving property damage or injury.
Report the crash
You should report the accident to law enforcement and ensure that a police report is made. In cases involving injury or death, you are required under Massachusetts law to report the crash to local police or Massachusetts State Police. A report is also required to be made to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Accept Medical Treatment
Permit yourself to be examined by medical professionals at the scene and follow their recommendations. Many injuries -- including those to the neck, head and back - may not be readily apparent. Some may take days or weeks to present themselves. And the effects of other injuries may be masked by the adrenaline of the moment.
Under Massachusetts law, you are required to exchange information with parties involved in an accident. This includes name and contact information, driver license number, license plate number and auto insurance information. You should not admit fault or make any statements to law enforcement, insurance representatives or other parties at the scene.
Stay Safe at the Scene
A significant number of secondary accidents occur each year when motorists fail to take safety precautions in the wake of an accident. Use four-way flashers whenever possible. Use flares if you have them. Those who can make their way to safety - away from the accident scene - should do so.
Cooperate with law enforcement
An accident is stressful for all involved and people react differently to stressful situations. Be polite and courteous to law enforcement and other officials on the scene. Provide them with required information (no statement of fault). Avoid speaking directly to others involved in the crash. However, pay close attention to what other parties say. The accident report will be an important document in any future litigation. Keep your actions and reactions professional.
Document Accident Information
Carefully document everything you can about the scene. Take cell phone pictures if possible. Get the name and contact information of other parties involved, of law enforcement officers at the scene, and of any witnesses. Look for traffic cameras or business security cameras that may have recorded the accident. Write down everything you remember about the crash and what other parties said to you, to police, or to someone else at the scene. Keep a log of additional contacts made, which may include insurance companies, follow up by law enforcement, body shops and towing companies. Keep detailed records of all medical treatment, bills and other paperwork.
Notify your Insurance Company
You are likely required by your insurance company to make immediate notification after an accident. Failure to notify your insurance company can result in a denial of your claim. While you are required to do so, you are not required to give long detailed statements or admit fault. There may come a time in your accident claim when your insurance company becomes an adversary. Our Boston car accident lawyers recommend making notification of the fact that an accident occurred. But speaking with an experienced lawyer is the best course of action before having additional interaction with your insurance carrier.
Contact an Attorney
As we've discussed, knowing the full extent of injuries can be impossible in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Some injuries may take years to fully present. Yet the steps you take in the hours and days after an accident often have a long-term impact on your ability to collect deserved damages in the future. Speaking with an experienced Massachusetts car accident lawyer is typically free. And is often the best course of action for protecting your rights and the future financial well-being of you and your family.
Boston Injury Lawyer - (617) 367-2900 -- Free Consultation