What to Do If You Are In a Car Accident in Delaware
Call us at (302)658-1717 or (302)736-5500
When you are in an accident, you have immediate, important decisions to make. For the crucial decisions you have to make later on, consult with a Delaware auto injury attorney in an experienced law firm, such as Knepper & Stratton at (302)658-1717 or (302)736-5500, so you do not waive valuable legal rights. Consultations are free for motor vehicle injury cases.
Immediately After the Accident
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident in Delaware, the first thing you need to do is stop your car or truck where it ended up after the accident. Do not move your vehicle and do not let the other person or persons move their vehicles until you are instructed to move them by the police. If your vehicle is in the road, you should get out of your vehicle and move off of the road so that you will not be hit by oncoming traffic. Call 911! In Delaware it is a crime to leave the scene of an accident and if convicted of that crime you will lose your license for a minimum of six (6) months.
Check to see whether you or your passengers have been injured. See if the occupants of the other vehicle(s) are okay, too. If anyone is injured, call an ambulance; it is usually best not to move an injured person yourself. Prevent additional injuries by making your vehicle visible: set out flares, turn on your hazard lights or raise the hood of your vehicle.
Take Pictures and Video Of Everything With Your Smartphone
Take pictures of everything with your smartphone. Take a picture of the other car and its license plate. Take pictures of the other driver(s). Take pictures of the driver license(s) of the other driver(s). Take pictures of and write down the driver’s name, address, telephone number, license plate number, driver’s license number and full auto insurance information including the person to whom the insurance policy is issued, the insurance company and policy number. Give your information to the other driver, too. This is required by law. If you fail to provide this information you can lose your license for six (6) months.
If anyone witnessed the accident, get their identifying information, take of picture of them and their picture I.D. If you smartphone has video ask them what they saw and record the answer. Do not rely on the police to get this information as they sometimes do not.
In addition, make note of the circumstances of the crash and anything unusual that you noticed. Use your smartphone’s video and record the accident scene and vehicles from all angles, showing where the vehicles ended up. Take pictures of any skid marks, fluid marks or debris in the roadway. Measure any skid marks. If there are traffic signs (i.e. a stop sign) record that. Write down the weather conditions, the speed limit on the road, your speed at the time of the crash, your estimate of the other driver’s speed and other such elements. This will be important if the case ends up in litigation or an insurance dispute. In Delaware the police do not take any pictures of the vehicles or the accident scene or take measurements, at the scene of non-fatal accidents.
Do not admit fault. The determination of fault, if any, will be made later. For now, focus on safety and proper accident procedures. Do not sign any waivers or releases offered by the other driver or the insurance company.
When the Police Arrive
Cooperate with any police officers who are at the scene of the accident. Provide them with whatever information they request, including information on injuries and witnesses, but avoid making editorial comments or admitting responsibility for what happened. Legal liability is complex, and you may not have the facts you need to determine who was responsible for the accident. Keep your answers to the police questions simple. Accidents usually happen very quickly, avoid saying anything that makes it sound like the accident took a long time to develop.
Make sure to get the business cards of the police officers who investigate. Ask for the incident number, too, so that you can get a copy of the accident report (and so that you can give this information to your insurance company). Do not leave the scene of the accident until the police officers tell you that it is okay to do so.
Soon After the Accident
Even if you are in minor pain, it is best to be examined by a physician. Injuries may not truly show themselves until later, and early treatment can prevent significant pain or other damage. In addition, an insurance company could argue that your failure to seek medical treatment aggravated your injury, or even that your injury did not arise from the accident at all.
Contact an Attorney
When you consult with a car accident injury attorney in Delaware, bring all of your automobile insurance information with you. Do not sign any documents or checks from an insurance company before you speak with the attorney. Document all of the costs related to the accident, such as renting a car, lost wages, medical bills and other costs. An experienced attorney, such as the lawyers at Knepper & Stratton (302)658-1717 or (302)736-5500 can help you sort out the all the losses related to your accident. When you go to meet with your attorney take along every piece of paper you have concerning the accident including the Accident Exchange for given to you by the police officer, any letters or forms you have received from either of the insurance companies, the name and telephone number of the insurance adjusters who have contacted you, the insurance company claim numbers, a copy of your insurance policy, a copy of your insurance bill where it shows the amounts of your insurance coverages, any medical bills you have received, your doctors names, addresses and telephone numbers, body shop or insurance company estimates of damage to your motor vehicle and any prescription receipts you have. If you bring this information it will save a vast amount of time in the interview.