A Lawyer’s 6 Tips for Dealing with Car Accidents

by drew.kobb on December 8, 2013

No one wants to get in a car accident, but it happens—unfortunately, more than it should. No matter how safely you drive, you can’t control the other cars and drivers on the road. It is imperative to prepare and protect yourself legally should you become a victim of a collision. Here are a few tips from a lawyer to help you do just that.

 1.     Stay Put

Whatever you do after the collision, stay where you are! Even just moving your car to the side of road might appear like you are fleeing the scene, so stay on the safe side by keeping your car in place and staying in the immediate area. It is actually illegal to flee the scene of a collision, and to not provide assistant to any victims of injury. You’re already going to be footing big bills for the collision—you don’t want to add another ticket, or worse, bail.

2.     Assess Injuries

Check yourself and your passengers for any injuries that might have been sustained during the accident. Even something small could be a sign of a more serious condition below the surface. Immediately document any injuries. If it looks as though injuries require medical attention and/or hospitalization, it might be smart to think about calling a personal injury lawyer. These lawyers will be able to find ways to reduce mounting hospital bills. Also, make sure the other driver and his or her passengers are safe and injury-free. Provide aide if necessary and appropriate.

3.     Call 911

Even if it’s just a small collision, it is important to call 911 to report the accident. This will assist in clearing the area and providing care for anyone in need. While it’s tempting to leave the police out of it and just trust the other driver to file his claim, there are too many ways that plan could fail. A surprising amount of drivers don’t even have insurance, so protect yourself from fraud by ensuring the police come to look at the wreck. They can give you an accident report, which proves the collision actually happened and provides details that your insurance company will want to know.

4.     Watch Your Words

If you’re like me, you’ll be feeling really bad about the collision at this point, even if it wasn’t your fault. Whatever you do, though, do not ever say it was your fault or that you are sorry. While it may seem courteous, you are legally admitting liability, which can then be used against you in any legal proceedings and insurance claims. Avoid signing anything (such as a statement) unless it is specifically for the police or your own insurance company.

Also, only discuss the accident with the other driver involved, the police, and the insurance company. Everyone will be asking you for the story, but you don’t want to be telling five different versions of what happened. You also don’t want to be making false claims, even to your best friend. Keep the shop talk among the small circle at the scene of the collision.

5.     Document Thoroughly

Take out those smart phones and start snapping pictures—this is your most important weapon, and the most important evidence. While phones don’t usually have the highest quality of cameras, you will want visual evidence of the scene. Snap as many photos as possible of your car, the other car, and the immediate area. Pay attention to skid marks on the road and any debris. Record where exactly the collision occurred, from the cross streets to the direction of travel.

It is also your responsibility to gather all necessary information about the other driver. This includes their name, address, insurance company, and insurance policy number. You’ll also need more than just a license plate number—record the make, model, and color of the car, along with the vehicle identification number, if possible.

6.     File the Claim

File your claim as soon as possible. Some insurance companies have timeframes for submitting claims, so it is better to be safe than stuck with all the bills. The police report may help to process your claim faster, so be sure to include this and other relevant materials. Once the claim is filed, stay in contact with the insurance company. While you don’t want to be annoying, it is important to stay present in the process and be available should anything arise.


Lawyers don’t always need to be involved in car accident cases, but in case they do, following these tips will make the legal process go a lot more smoothly. Don’t get caught off guard if you get caught in a collision—remember these 6 tips and handle the situation intelligently. For legal help with car accidents in the Edmonton, Canada area, contact Braithwaite & Boyle for excellent service and personal care.

Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch.

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