Nick Adenhart Crash Raises Question: What Should You Do After a Car Accident?

Article Placeholder Image
By David Goguen on April 09, 2009 11:21 AM

The hit-and-run car crash that killed California Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and three others this morning highlights the importance of following certain steps after a car accident.

In today's early morning accident in Fullerton, California, the driver of a minivan is alleged to have run a red light and struck a Mitsubishi sports car carrying Adenhart and three others, according to the Los Angeles Times. The minivan driver then apparently fled on foot and was taken into custody on suspicion of hit-and-run about a mile from the accident scene, the Times reports

A car accident can be chaotic even when no serious injuries are involved. Traffic may be whizzing by around you, and everyone's nerves are on edge, so it can be difficult to keep a clear head. But not only are you legally required to remain at the scene after a car accident, there are other (not necessarily legal mandatory) steps you can take to ensure the safety of everyone involved, and protect your own legal rights.

Follow this quick checklist of steps to take after a car accident:    

  • Stop your vehicle and get it out of the flow of traffic if it is safe to do so.
  • Check on all other drivers and passengers to see if they require medical attention.
  • Summon medical assistance if necessary. 
  • Call the police, especially if the accident caused serious injuries or significant property damage (a police report will be a key part of any lawsuit for damages after a car accident). 
  • Exchange information with other drivers involved in the crash (and any witnesses), including names, contact information, driver's license information, and insurance data.
  • Contact your insurance company and provide them with complete and accurate information about the accident.
  • Take pictures of any property damage, if possible.

Those are the things you can do for starters. Later you'll need to remember to keep track of any medical treatment you receive and get any property damage assessed for repairs, in the likely event that an insurance claim and/or lawsuit is filed as a result of the car accident.