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What Not to Do After An Auto Accident

Posted By Regan Zambri & Long || 21-Apr-2009

As reported in a recent article in the Washington Post,  a young woman escaped from her overturned vehicle onto the Interstate, only to be killed by another car while sitting on the highway.  According to witnesses, she escaped from her overturned car and sat down in a traffic lane. She was hit by another car and died at the scene. 

Earlier this year, a man was killed while stopping on Interstate 495 when he and his companion stopped on the road shoulder so they could trade seats.  According to a state police official at the accident site, "There is no safe parking spot on the interstate.  It is a very dangerous place to be."  Police emphasized that motorists should never stop on any highway and get out of their vehicles unless there is a dire emergency.

According to the teen driving guide for KidsHealth.org, "In 2005 alone, there were more than 6.1 million police-reported traffic crashes in the United States. Combine those with the number of incidents that aren’t reported to the police and it adds up to a lot of collisions."  KidsHealth.org provides common-sense driving information directed at teen drivers but useful for anyone who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle.  Following is a brief summary of the suggested guidelines: 

What to Do After an Auto Accident:

  • Take a few deep breaths to calm down and prepare yourself to handle the situation.  Staying calm will help when attempting to determine whether the accident was serious.
  • Keep yourself and others safe.  Don’t get out of the car unless it’s safe.  Keep your seat belt fastened, turn on your hazard lights, then call 911 if possible and wait for help to arrive.
  • Report the accident, making certain that you stay on the line until the dispatcher tells you that you may hang up. Give clear and detailed information about the accident.  If the police don’t come to the scene, follow up by filing an accident report at a police station or DMV.
  • Obtain the other driver’s information, including name, address, phone number, insurance company, insurance policy number, and license plate number.  Do not admit fault or accept blame at the scene.  The accident may not have been your fault.
  • Take notes on the accident, including a diagram of the exact crash site and description of all involved vehicles.  If a camera is available, take photos of the accident scene.
  • Contact your insurance company while the accident is fresh in your mind and you remember the details clearly.

For information about your legal rights regarding automobile accidents or if you have been injured in an automobile accident, contact Regan Zambri & Long online or by phone at 202-759-6699 for a free consultation. 

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