Steps To Take Immediately After An Auto Accident In Arkansas

People panic when an auto accident occurs and it is important to keep in mind some important steps to take.

According to the Arkansas State Police, there were over 500 fatal auto accidents in the state in 2015. Few things are more frightening than being in an auto accident, especially if someone is seriously injured or killed. Actions immediately following the incident will determine the viability of recovering damages, and according to the state's Department of Insurance, people should follow certain steps.

Prepare yourself for the possibility of an incident

A pen and proof of automobile insurance should always be kept in the car. It is also wise for people to keep a copy of their proof of insurance in a wallet and at home, as well, just in case the automobile is so damaged it cannot be accessed.

Once the accident occurs

It is critical for all drivers and passengers to remain calm immediately following a crash. People must be able to assess the scene and determine whether it is safe to get out of their automobiles. If it is unsafe, those involved in the accident should stay put. If it is safe, people can exit the vehicles, but only after checking for injuries. If someone is injured, he or she should not move until emergency medical personnel arrives on the scene.

Once the situation is assessed, the next step is to call the police to report where the accident is and ask for medical help, if needed. Even if it's just a fender-bender, it is important to notify the proper authorities, especially if it appears the other driver is drunk or otherwise impaired. This enables law enforcement to record the accident and file necessary reports, and it also helps defuse tempers at the scene.

Information that should be obtained

Additional steps those involved in a collision should take include the following:

  • Drivers and passengers' names, ages and gender
  • Addresses and phone numbers of all involved
  • Driver's license numbers of operators involved
  • Vehicle make, model, year, color, license plate and VIN numbers
  • Vehicles' registered owners' names and address
  • Drivers' relationships to registered owners

Accident victims need to obtain all drivers' insurance company information, including the policy and company phone numbers and policy expiration dates. It is also critical to get the names, addresses and phone numbers of any bystanders who witnessed the accident.

Recording the accident

Recording information about the accident is another way people can protect themselves. This should include documenting where the accident occurred, the date and time, the direction being traveled, the actions that caused the incident, any injuries to all involved in the accident, the damage to all vehicles and any additional property damage. Once the police arrive, people should make certain to obtain the officers' names and badge numbers, and confirm that they are going to file a police report of the incident and, if so, what the report number will be.

Let the professionals determine fault

No matter the circumstances surrounding the incident, those involved should not admit fault or say anything that might suggest responsibility, including "I'm sorry." Arkansas has specific laws to determine liability and recovery for those who have suffered an auto accident. Rather than attempt to place blame and recover damages on their own, victims may want to seek the counsel of a qualified personal injury attorney in Little Rock to guide them through the auto accident claim and recovery process.