A wrong statement or action after a car crash can cause injuries and harm your legal rights.
Remaining calm makes it easier to think reasonably and prevents fighting with other motorists. These other actions are also important.
Your first step following car accidents is to assure that everyone, including other motorists and passengers, is safe. Make sure everyone is away from the road and traffic. Unless they are in immediate danger, do not move anyone who is seriously injured because this may aggravate their injuries.
If anyone is injured, call 911 for assistance.
Louisiana also requires the filing of an accident report with local police if an accident causes death, injury or property damage over $500. State police reports are required if the crash causes a fatality, injury or property damage exceeding $100.
Call the police if there are any injuries, serious damage to vehicles, any damage to adjacent property or if you believe that this may be a road rage situation.
After you file a report or if police come to the accident scene, find out the procedures for obtaining the report. If police indicate that they are not drafting a report, suggest that they prepare a report. Be sure to write down the officer’s name, badge number, phone number and report number.
Obtain contact information from any cooperative witnesses and ask them to stay until the police arrive. If the crash occurred on a parking lot or private property, seek a statement from a security officer or manager.
Never admit that you made a driving mistake or apologize. You may ask other motorists and their passengers if they need medical assistance and engage in small talk.
Do not accept immediate payment from other motorists or promise not to report the accident to their insurance company because you may be unaware of the full severity of your injuries or vehicle damage. Never sign documents unless the police request it.
Write down or photograph the other driver’s name and insurance information. You may provide your full name, insurance company, insurance policy number and your insurance company’s phone number to the other motorist.
Do not provide home address, phone number and driver’s license number to other motorists because of the risk of identity theft.
With your smartphone, photograph or film the accident scene, injuries, vehicle and other property damage, signs, road conditions and the position of the vehicles. Write down accident details immediately after the crash.
Contact your insurance company if there were injuries or damage. You may also require legal assistance before you speak to insurance companies. Attorneys can also help you seek compensation if you are injured.