When a major vehicle collision occurs, moments count. People may be seriously injured or at risk of death. What’s more, evidence of what happened begins to fade almost immediately following. When you’re in an accident that causes serious injury to your spouse—or when you find out that such an accident occurred—what needs to happen in the immediate moment? The following checklists should help you think of items you might otherwise forget or fail to consider.
If You Are Involved or Present at the Accident Scene
• Call 911 for immediate medical and police assistance. Even before you know how bad the damage or injuries are, you’ll need emergency help—and seconds may count. Make the call before anything else.
• Check yourself for injuries first. Your first impulse may be to check on your spouse—and that’s normal—but in the immediate trauma of a collision, people sometimes don’t realize they’ve been injured or understand the extent of their own injuries. Don’t move until you’re certain you can do so without making your situation worse. Don’t move your spouse unless the vehicle presents an immediate danger (e.g., fire).
• Get the other driver’s license and insurance information. Snap a photo of this information, if possible. Do not engage in an altercation, place blame or admit to any fault. The evidence will speak for itself.
• Begin documenting evidence as quickly as possible. Take photos or videos of damage to vehicles, location/position of vehicles, injuries to your spouse and yourself, etc. All visual evidence collected at this time may strengthen your case.
• Get the testimony of eyewitnesses. Record or video this information, if possible.
• Ask for copies of all police reports.
• Follow the instructions of emergency personnel. In the extreme stress of the moment, you may feel disoriented and inadvertently get in their way, or otherwise interfere. These people are there to help, so trust their directions.
If You’re Not Involved in the Accident
If you receive a call from a family member, friend or first responder that your spouse has been in an accident, find out as much information as possible. What is your spouse’s condition? Are they still at the accident scene? Where is the accident? Have first responders arrived? Are they on the way to the hospital?
If there is time to get to the scene of the accident, be sure not to interfere with first responders attempting to do their jobs. If possible, begin gathering evidence (as mentioned) or have an ally do it for you. If your spouse is at the hospital or on their way, meet the ambulance there instead.
If you and your spouse are already dealing with the aftermath of a serious accident, we can help with the legal piece. Call Greathouse Trial Law at (888) 353-1458 for a free evaluation.