What to Do If You Have a Car Accident in Louisiana: A Checklist
What do you do if you have a car accident in Louisiana? It’s best to follow these steps, to ensure your safety, make sure any medical needs are attended to, and to work with law enforcement.
1. Remove yourself and your car from any danger
If you are in traffic or your car is at risk of being hit by traffic, or otherwise in a dangerous place, move it. Don’t move it far, but move it far enough to ensure that you and the car are securely out of danger.
2. Stay at the scene
Never leave the scene of an accident. It could make you at risk for criminal charges later on. Stay at the scene. As indicated above, you may move your vehicle if it’s at risk, but don’t drive away from the general scene.
3. Call an ambulance if needed
If anyone, including other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians, has been injured or is in need of medical attention, call an ambulance.
4. Call the police
The safest thing to do is to call the police. Even if no one is visibly hurt and no law has been violated, a police report will provide details of the incident to your insurance company. If the law has been violated, the police are essential. Tell the officer(s) fully and completely what happened for their report.
If a tow truck needs to be called or the area needs to be cleared, the police can help.
5. Put your hazard lights on
Hazard lights make it clear that an accident has happened. They also make it clear that you are waiting for the police.
6. Exchange information with any other drivers
Exchange your contact and insurance information with any other drivers. Don’t, however, volunteer any information that indicates it was your fault or offer an apology. An apology can be construed by some courts, in some situations, as an indication that you were at fault.
7. Take pictures of the scene
If you have a smart phone or any other device, take a picture of the scene. Take a picture from all angles of the road and from your car. Take close-up pictures and pictures that show the scene from a distance, but still visible.
8. Take notes on what happened
If you don’t have a camera, write down notes about what happened while the scene is still fresh in your mind. What you did; what the other driver did; road conditions; and weather.
9. Talk to witnesses and get their contact information
If there were witnesses and they are available, get their contact information. If a case goes to court and the other party is at fault, witnesses can help establish your case.
10. See your doctor
See your doctor as soon as possible if you need medical attention.
Even if you don’t need medical attention, it’s a good idea to see your doctor. Some consequences of accidents, like concussions or whiplash, don’t have symptoms immediately. Tell your doctor’s office you’ve been in an accident and need to be checked out. Explain to the doctor what happened and what happened to your body.
Speak with an experienced auto accident attorney in Baton Rouge and Lafayette
If you have been involved in a car crash, we’re here to help. The Bart Bernard Personal Injury Law Firm has two convenient offices, one in Baton Rouge and one in Lafayette. For a free consultation with an experienced Louisiana car accident attorney and to find out how much your case might be worth, call our offices today or contact us online.
More Info on What to Do After a Car Accident:
- Araujo, Mila. “I Had a Car Accident – Now What? Steps to Take After a Crash.” The Balance, January 31, 2017. https://www.thebalance.com/i-had-a-car-accident-now-what-2645472
- “What to Do After a Car Accident: 10 Steps to Reduce Your Risks.” Consumer Reports, November 2015. https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/12/what-to-do-after-a-car-accident/index.htm