Steps to Take After a Car Accident in New Hampshire
When taking stock of injuries you have suffered, do so in a safe place. Your vehicle may still be in the flow of traffic after an accident; if you are able, pull over to the side of the road and stop your vehicle. 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 car accidents are almost always unexpected, and stress or an injury can have a disorientating effect. Additionally, it is wise to keep a first aid kit in your car; if you are injured and can safely access it after an accident, do so.
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, seek medical treatment for the passenger as soon as possible. It is critical that you 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.
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 is in need of 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.
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 the event of an accident. 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.
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 well being of yourself and any 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. You may want to call the police. They will investigate the accident and file a report. A police report is often valuable evidence that will be relied upon in either the courtroom or settlement process with an at-fault driver’s insurer.
New Hampshire is a “fault” state for car insurance – a distinction that makes responsibility for an accident an important part of recovering compensation for personal injuries, vehicle damage, and other losses.
This is especially the case if you are unable to reach a fair settlement with an at-fault driver’s insurance provider, and must take that driver to court in a lawsuit for accident-related damages.
Photograph The Accident Scene
In addition to calling the police to investigate an accident and file report, if you are able to do so safely, take photos of the scene with your phone or camera. 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 having contributed to the accident. Though it may be traumatic, it is important that you document any physical injuries you or a passenger has suffered as well. You should not only do this at the scene of the accident, but 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 photographs taken, their observation of the accident can be valuable evidence.
Consulting With An Attorney After A Car Accident
Remember, fault matters in New Hampshire. You may need an attorney to prove another driver’s responsibility for an accident in court to obtain the full compensation you need and deserve for your personal 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.