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690 Flatbush Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06110-1308

27 Holmes Avenue, Waterbury, CT  203 756-6100




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690 Flatbush Avenue West Hartford, CT  06110-1308

860 236-9350             800 856-6400  toll free     860 523-9101  fax

27 Holmes Avenue Downtown Waterbury 203 756-6100




What To Do in a Car Accident


At the Scene

After the Accident

bulletBEFORE THE ACCIDENT  Being prepared for the possibility of an automobile accident can save lives and reduce injuries.  Being prepared can also make the process smoother if a personal injury claim or lawsuit  needs to be filed to protect your rights.
bulletWear Your Seatbelt.  The easiest, most effective way to save lives and reduce serious injury.  Learn about Staying Safe on the road.
bulletKeep an Emergency Kit in the Car.  Your kit should include:
bulletA flashlight.
bulletFlares and / or a reflective triangle.
bulletMatches or a lighter.
bulletA first aid kit with bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, antiseptic cream, instant ice and heat compresses, scissors and aspirin.
bulletVinyl Gloves.
bulletHandi-Wipe Towelettes.
bulletCheck Your Insurance.
bulletAre you protected if the driver who causes the accident takes off, has no insurance or does not have enough insurance?  Check the Uninsured Motorist part of your insurance.
bulletMake sure your automobile insurance helps you pay for your medical bills and see the doctors you want to see.  Check if your insurance gives you Medical Payment benefits.
bulletKeep A Packet of Documents and Information in the Car.  Use a ziplock bag to keep important documents and information in one place.  Include:
bulletVehicle Registration.
bulletInsurance Card.
bulletA pen or pencil.  Also keep a disposable camera in your car.
bulletA list of telephone numbers that may be necessary:
bulletYour insurance agent.
bulletYour lawyer.
bulletNumbers for relatives in case the police have to call someone because you are incapacitated.
bulletThis Checklist.  (Print a copy for each car in your family.)


bulletStop.  See if anyone is injured.  It is a crime to leave the scene of a car accident if someone is hurt or there is property damage.  
bulletGet to Safety.  Do not get involved in a second accident.  Get yourself out of harm's way.  Tell your passengers to get out of harm's way.  If your vehicle is in danger of getting hit by other vehicles, get out of the car and go to someplace safe.  Get away from the road.  If there is a guardrail, climb over to the side away from the road.  Do not stand behind the car.  Do not stand on the side of the car where traffic is going by.
bulletCall 911.  Do not hang up until the operator tells you.  Tell the operator:
bulletYour name.
bulletYour location.  (Town, street, nearby streets, closest house number.)
bulletIf anyone is hurt and what the injuries are.
bulletThe number of the phone that you are calling from.
bulletUse Your Emergency Kit.  Place your flares or your reflective triangle far enough away from your car so that oncoming drivers have plenty of time to notice and move over.  If it is dark, switch on your flashlight so that oncoming drivers notice you.
bulletGive Assistance.
bulletDo not move anyone unless necessary to get them to safety.
bulletTo stop heavy bleeding, apply pressure with a clean bandage, towel, or piece of clothing.
bulletTalk calmly to injured persons to help keep them from going into shock.
bulletDo Not Discuss How the Accident Happened Except with the Police.  Do not discuss with other drivers or anyone else how the car accident happened.  Avoid arguments.  Concentrate on recording information.  Answer the police officer's questions.  If you are arrested, stop answering questions.
bulletDo Not Say You Caused the Accident.  Car accidents happen quickly.  Things that contributed to the accident may not be immediately obvious.
bulletDo Not Move the Vehicles Until The Police Tell You.  On a limited access highway (like I-84, I-91 or I-95) the law requires you to move your car out of the way of traffic if there are no injuries and you can move the car safely.  On other roads, do not move your car until the police tell you.  Use flares or a reflective triangle to warn oncoming motorists.  Ask other drivers not to move their cars as well, but do not argue if someone gets belligerent. 
bulletTake Pictures.  Keep a disposable camera or a cheap digital camera in your car.  If you have no camera, use a cell phone that takes pictures.  Watch out for traffic when taking pictures.  Takes pictures of:
bulletDamage to vehicles.
bulletDamage to guard rails, poles, trees or anything else.
bulletLicense plates of other vehicles.
bulletSkid marks.
bulletNearby street signs.
bulletLocation of the vehicles (move far enough away so the picture shows where on the road the vehicles are located).
bulletExchange Information.  Give and get information to identify everyone involved in the car accident, including passengers and witnesses.  If drivers or passengers refuse to give you information, ask the police officer for the information.  Write down the number of passengers in all the vehicles involved and note their sex and approximate ages.
bulletDrivers should exchange the following information:
bulletDrivers license number.
bulletInsurance company name and policy number.
bulletName and address of the owner of the vehicle.
bulletLicense plate number of the vehicle.
bulletNames of passengers.
bullet  Ask witnesses for the following information:
bulletTelephone numbers, including home, work and cell phone.
bulletA description of what they saw.  (You can ask the witnesses to mail or e-mail you this information.)



Get Medical Attention. Our experience as personal injury lawyers has been that after an accident many people  ó even though shaken up  ó  do not immediately get medical attention because they have no open cuts or fractures.  Many clients tell us that only after a few hours or a day goes by do they begin to feel strains and sprains from the accident.  Sometimes people suffer internal injuries in an accident without knowing it.  If you have any discomfort at all following a car accident, see a doctor.


Call an Accident Lawyer.  If you are injured, contact an accident lawyer as soon as possible.  Waiting too long can create problems.  For example:

Important deadlines go by that may keep you from being able to file a personal injury claim against the person who may be responsible for the car accident.


Important evidence cannot be obtained, such as pictures of fresh injuries or of  damage to the vehicles.  Heavily damaged vehicles may be moved to out-of-state recycling yards and become unavailable for photographing..


Witness move away or forget important details of the accident.


Call Your Insurance Company.  Insurance policies require that drivers report an accident as soon as possible.  However, you may want to ask your lawyer to call your insurance company for you.  This way, you can make sure that only the necessary information is given out and that it is given only to the right people.  If you do call, remember:

Do not tell your company you were at fault in the accident.


Tell your company you do not want the call recorded.


If you have an lawyer, give the company the lawyerís name and telephone number and tell the company to call your lawyer.


Do Not Discuss the Case If Anyone Calls You.  Remember:

You are not required to speak to anyone other than your insurance company about the accident.


If someone calls you about the case, make sure the person is from your insurance company.  Check by asking for a telephone number and call the number back.


Do not get persuaded, tricked or confused into talking to the other driverís insurance company or to an investigator.


Take Care of Your Car.  If you hire the Serrano Law Firm, to represent you for injuries caused by a car accident, we do not charge you for helping you get the other driverís insurance company to pay for your carís repair (or for its value if it is a total loss) and to pay for a rental.  We can also recommend reputable auto body repair shops.  To protect your car after an automobile accident, take these steps:

If your car was towed to a garage or yard from the scene, get your car out as soon as possible to avoid storage charges, which can add up quickly


Arrange for a rental car.  Your company may provide a rental under your policy.  The other driverís company may pay for the rental if they agreed that their driver was at fault.  Check with your insurance company to see if you need to purchase extra insurance from the rental agency.


Have the damage to your car looked at by an adjustor from your insurance company or from the other driverís company if they agreed that their driver was at fault.  We recommend having the adjustor look at the car at the auto body shop where you will get it fixed.  Do not discuss the car accident with the adjustor.


Look up your carís value online if it is a total loss to make sure you are getting paid a fair amount.


Help Your Lawyer Collect Evidence.  The days immediately following a car accident are the most crucial time to gather and preserve evidence.  Help your lawyer by doing the following:

Write down everything you remember about the accident and give the statement to your lawyer.


Give your lawyer the names and addresses of any witnesses.


Give your lawyer any pictures of vehicle damage, the accident scene or your injuries.


If no photographs have yet been taken, make arrangements for your lawyer to get pictures of vehicle damage or of injuries.


Keep a diary of how your pain and injuries affect you each day and give the diary to your lawyer.

When You Need a Connecticut Accident Lawyer,

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Please note that our law firm's website is designed to provide only general legal information.

This information is not intended to be legal advice for your individual situation.

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