What should drivers do following Alabama car accidents?

Many people believe that if they are cautious and obey the traffic laws and signs, then they will not be involved in auto accidents. While using care when operating a motor vehicle can reduce some of the risk of getting into a collision, it does not completely remove the hazard. The actions of other drivers, including driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding, commonly result in motor vehicle accidents that involve other, innocent motorists. Considering that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that there were more than 2.5 million people treated in emergency medical departments throughout the country for injuries resulting from car accidents in 2012 alone, it behooves drivers to understand what steps they should take after a collision to protect themselves and their passengers.

As most people are aware, drivers are generally required to stop and remain at the scene of the accident until they have provided their name, address and any other necessary information to law enforcement, or to the other driver if authorities indicate they will not be coming to the scene. Leaving before this can result in motorists facing criminal charges. After stopping, it is generally advised that drivers assess themselves, as well as any passengers that may have been travelling with them, for injury. If anyone has been injured, someone should call 911 for help. Authorities will typically file accident reports, which can be useful in proving fault if injured victims choose to take legal action later.

In some situations, adrenaline and the shock of the accident itself could mask certain types of injuries immediately following a collision. For this reason, it can be helpful for people to not only exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver, but also to get the contact information for any passengers or other witnesses to the accident. Additionally, it can be useful to have pictures of the scene, the damage and any visible injuries in case of litigation.

Motor vehicle accidents can result in medical expenses and other undue costs, in addition to lost income, for injury victims. While the first steps of notifying law enforcement, seeking medical assistance and calling their insurance company are always important, it can also be useful for people who have experienced situations such as this to consult with an attorney to understand their options and how to receive the help they need.

Source: WUSA 9, "Preparing for an auto accident," Shirley Rooker, June 26, 2014

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