What to Do if You are Involved in an Automobile Or Motorcycle Accident

Having a motorcycle or automobile accident can be a frightening experience, even if no one is seriously injured.  After experiencing an accident, your head may be swimming and you may feel a sense of panic.  Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1.       Remain at the scene until the authorities arrive and tell you that you can leave.  In Iowa, it is generally a crime to leave the scene of an accident.  If you do so, you risk losing your driver’s license as well as serious criminal charges.  In the event that there is a dispute over the accident later, you also want to be sure that your version of events is included in the police officer’s report of the accident.  An exception to this rule is if there are no other parties involved (such as hitting a parked car) and there are no injuries.  In that case, you may simply leave your contact information.

2.       Get medical attention promptly.  The adrenaline triggered by an accident can mask serious injuries.  If medical personnel are called to the scene, do not refuse treatment.  Allow them to do their job and examine you to make sure that you are not hurt.  There is also a legal reason for doing this.  If it turns out that you are injured and do have medical bills, refusing treatment at the scene may make it more difficult for you to collect compensation for those medical bills later, as the other side may argue that you were not injured by the accident but by something that happened later.

3.       Exchange information with the other driver.  Information to collect includes the person’s name, license plate number, driver’s license number and insurance information.  You also will want to record the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident, as well as the police officers who respond to the call. 

4.       Do not admit fault.  Being in an accident can be a highly emotional experience.  You may feel compelled to soothe the other party involved by apologizing for the accident and accepting responsibility for it.  Realize that it is not up to you to determine who is at fault in an accident; it is up to our judicial system.  Even if you believe you were responsible, there may be a variety of factors impacting the accident that you are not aware of.  While it is always a good idea to be courteous to the other parties involved, it is best to minimize your contact with them and avoid making statements about the accident to any parties other than the police.

5.       Take notes.  As soon as you have talked to the police and medical personnel, sit in a quiet place and take notes about the accident.  Include information about the scene of the accident, the road conditions at the time, the events leading up to the accident as well as the accident itself.  You may be surprised at how quickly your memory of the details will fade.  If you are involved in litigation later, you may be questioned about the accident months or even years afterwards.  Your immediate recollections will be the most accurate.

If you are involved in an automobile accident, you may require the services of a personal injury or wrongful death attorney to seek compensation for your medical bills and other damages.  Please contact Erbe Law Firm for a consultation today to see if I can help out.


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