If you don't live in one of a handful of states that has no-fault laws, there's a good chance you need to seek legal representation if you are ever involved in a car accident. Before you call an attorney, your best bet is to gather some information first. Here's a look at what a lawyer will likely need should you ever find yourself in this unfortunate situation.
1. Seek Out Bystander Information
If you weren't injured in the accident, you may be able to get this information yourself while you are on the scene. Try to get everyone's name and contact information who witnessed the accident. Be sure to attempt to get a statement from them and write it down; everyone's memory is freshest immediately after an event. If that isn't possible, the police officers who respond to the scene of the accident will get this information.
2. Grab Your Phone
Rare is the person who doesn't have a cell phone with at least a basic camera on it. Use your phone to take as many pictures as possible of the entire scene. Snap photos from all angles of the vehicles involved, the witnesses, and any damage to your vehicle. If your phone also has a video camera, capture video of everything as well. This will be useful not only for insurance purposes, but it could also be extremely important in helping your attorney prove you're not to blame for the car accident.
3. Take The Ride To The Emergency Room
Even if you weren't horribly injured, a car accident still puts considerable stress on the body. Just a fender bender at a slow rate of speed is still an incredible jar. Plus, the adrenaline the brain releases when someone is in an accident can also mask any discomfort at the time. It's often not until hours later a person realizes they have been injured or may have a concussion. If the ambulance is called, allow the paramedics to check you out. Do not refuse medical attention. If an ambulance is not called, have the police or someone else drive you to the hospital to be assessed and get a legal medical record of the event.
4. Find An Auto Accident Attorney
Your buddy who is a probate lawyer isn't going to be able to help you, although he may be able to give you a good recommendation for an attorney who has experience dealing with car accidents. Call your local vehicular accident attorney as soon as you are able to.