Steps to Take After a Car Accident in New Hampshire
Unquestionably, the first thing to consider in the aftermath of a car accident in New Hampshire is your health. If you have been injured, it is imperative that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible. If you do not, your injuries may increase in severity.
When taking stock of your injuries, do so in a safe place. Your vehicle may still be in the flow of traffic after an accident, so be sure to pull over to the side of the road and stop your vehicle if possible. The last thing you want or need after an accident is to be hit by another vehicle while checking for injuries.
This may seem obvious, but traffic accidents are almost always unexpected, and the stress and/or injuries that accompany them can have a disorientating effect. After your accident, in fact, your heightened levels of adrenaline may prevent you from feeling a serious injury. Without treatment, these hidden injuries can get worse. On the other hand, the impact of severe injuries may be mitigated by using a first aid kit immediately after the accident.
The 6 Steps to Take After an Auto Accident in New Hampshire
Getting into a car accident is a stressful experience, but there are certain steps you will need to remember to secure your health and your future. Check them out below:
1. After Examining Yourself For Injuries, Do The Same For Any Passengers In Your Vehicle
The aftermath of a car accident is even more complex and stressful when passengers are involved. After you have pulled over to a safe place and examined yourself for injuries, do the same for any passengers in your vehicle. If a passenger has been injured, call 911 and see if you can address their visible wounds with your first aid kit. Be sure to seek medical treatment for your injured passenger as soon as possible. You should also refrain from moving an injured passenger unless you have been trained to do so properly. Improperly moving an injured person can worsen an injury – especially one affecting the head, neck, or spine.
2. Do Not Flee The Scene Of The Accident
Irrespective of any perception of fault you may have regarding an accident, do not leave the scene. If you or your passenger needs medical treatment, call an ambulance instead of attempting to drive to the hospital yourself. Fleeing the scene of an accident can result in criminal charges – the last thing you need when dealing with unexpected injuries and damage to your vehicle.
3. If You Are Able, Use Cones And Flares To Prevent A Secondary Accident
Just as it is wise to carry a first aid kit, spare tire, and jumper cables in your car, you should also keep cones and flares for any possible accidents. These safety products are widely available at a very low cost and allow you to alert oncoming traffic to the presence of an accident scene.
4. Calling The Police Is The First Part Of The Evidentiary Process
Nothing is more important than your health; that is why the first actions to take after an accident concern the physical wellbeing of yourself and your passengers. After you have taken these steps, however, it is time to take action to preserve evidence of the extent and circumstances of the accident.
Even if no one is injured and you don’t need to call 911, you may want to call the police. They will investigate the accident and file a report, which you should get a copy of. A police report is often valuable evidence in either the courtroom or settlement process with an at-fault driver’s insurer.
New Hampshire is an “at-fault” state for car insurance, which means the person who caused your accident will be responsible for your injuries, vehicle damage, and other losses.
This important distinction is especially crucial if you are unable to reach a fair settlement with an at-fault driver’s insurance provider. Sometimes, you will have to take the driver to court to prove fault and win a lawsuit for accident-related damages.
5. Photograph The Accident Scene
In addition to calling the police to investigate an accident and file a report, you should take photos of the scene with your phone or camera (if you are able to do so safely, of course). Photos of the scene may include damage to your vehicle, damage to the other driver’s vehicle, damage to real property (residences, businesses) skid marks, fallen trees, and other elements that contributed to the accident.
Though it may be traumatic, it is important that you document any physical injuries you or your passengers have suffered, as well. Make sure to take pictures at the scene of the accident, but don’t forget to take more photos later on if the injuries become more severe or apparent over time.
Finally, if there are any witnesses, whether passengers or third parties, ask for their names, addresses, and phone numbers. As with the police report and any photographs you took, their observation of the accident can be valuable evidence.
6. Consulting With An Attorney After A Car Accident
Remember, fault matters in New Hampshire. You may need an attorney to help you prove who and what caused the accident. You may also need to go to court to obtain the full compensation you need and deserve for your injuries, property damage, and other losses. Evidence is best evaluated sooner rather than later, so reach out to a skilled and experienced New Hampshire car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Call Gottesman & Hollis, P.A. at (603) 506-4600 or visit us online to set up a free consultation.