There are some very important things that you need to do (and NOT do) immediately at the scene of the wreck.

First, stay calm and breathe!  If you have been injured, do not move – call 911 (if possible) and wait for EMS and then go to the hospital.  Your health is more important than anything else.  This is not the time to prove how tough you are.  The human body was not designed to withstand the various physical forces of a vehicle collision, and it is important that you get thoroughly checked out if you are having even the slightest problem.  Remember, oftentimes adrenaline and shock can immediately hide, or mask, symptoms that you will definitely feel later.  Better safe than sorry in terms of obtaining medical care immediately following a wreck.  If you are not injured, then you should immediately check on everyone else involved in the wreck.  If anyone else has been injured, assist them in remaining still until EMS arrives.

Once all people involved in the wreck are accounted for and that situation is stable, gather all of the information you can at the scene (or have someone else do this for you).  Get the names, addresses, phone numbers and license plate numbers of any and all witnesses and other drivers involved in the wreck.  Take photographs of the resting place of the vehicles, damage to the vehicles, debris fields, skid marks and anything else damaged or affected by the collision.  Take pictures of any sign (or lack of sign), or other monument, or pothole, or the Sun, or roadway characteristic contributed that you believe may have contributed to the wreck.  This is probably left to a friend or family member who comes to the scene, as you will most likely be dealing with your injuries or the law enforcement investigator.

Do not move any vehicles until law enforcement arrives.  Oftentimes the resting place of the vehicles and the location of debris scattered about the crash scene can be important evidence in determining who caused the wreck.  Once the crash investigator arrives, he or she will instruct you when he has gathered enough information that the vehicles can then be moved.

Do not admit fault.  It is easy to be confused about what actually happened, or what is being asked of you, in the chaos immediately following a wreck.  If you hit your head on anything during the collision, this can also cause confusion.  Fault can always be addressed later.

My next article will discuss in details things that you should do after you leave the scene of the wreck.  Those are, in this order: 1) File all medical bills with your health insurance company; 2) Speak to an experienced, local injury attorney if you have been injured; 3) Speak to an experienced, local traffic attorney if you were given a ticket; 4) Report the collision to your automobile insurance company; 5) Do not speak to the other driver’s insurance company.

Here’s to hoping that you never need to use this advice!!

SCENE OF A CAR WRECK SCENE OF A CAR WRECK Reviewed by kensunm on 9:00:00 AM Rating: 5

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