What to do in a serious vehicular collision

Kapow! You just got rear-ended while sitting at a traffic light. If you are still able to move about, alert and not in imminent danger, now’s the time to record the evidence of the collision with a cellphone camera.

Be careful about sharing too much information with the other driver and bystanders. Either could later become witnesses in a lawsuit. And don’t reveal the limits of your policy’s coverage. While it’s true you must give the other driver basic information, such as your name and proof of insurance, refrain from commenting on the accident.

Take notes, if you are able to do so. Record the positions of the vehicles, where pedestrians may have been standing, and a brief description. All these details can make a huge difference in the outcome of any civil or criminal actions. If you can, sketch out the details on a piece of paper. If not, commit the scene to memory. Preserving the evidence is crucial in those first moments after a collision.

If anyone else on the scene has been seriously injured, don’t call your friend, your Mom or anyone else until you call 911. While it’s usually considered a humane act to move a helpless person out of danger, it’s typically safer for all parties involved in the accident to wait for trained medical personnel to arrive on the scene. Use good judgment, even though you may be very upset. Steel yourself.

Sometimes a real nightmare occurs when a vehicle bursts into flames or occupants are thrown violently from a vehicle. While you are under no obligation to render aid in such a circumstance, should you decide to get involved only render aid you can competently give without worsening the person’s injuries.

If you have medical credentials and malpractice insurance, then it’s a different story. Many a doctor is willing to help in such circumstances, and they may even have an obligation under the law to render aid. In the majority of cases, however, the average citizen is not required to render aid to a victim.  

If you do decide to aid an injured person, do not apply a tourniquet unless you have sufficient knowledge of the procedure or if it’s clearly obvious the victim is in imminent danger of bleeding to death. The same goes for moving a prone person who may have a spinal or head injury. That could result in paralysis.

Consult with your attorney if you have concerns following the aftermath of an automobile accident. It’s a good idea to give him or her a heads up as soon as possible. That’s why it’s important to have an ongoing relationship with your family attorney.