Car Accidents

Auto accidents caused by another driver or a vehicle malfunction can be a traumatic and frustrating experience. Aside from dealing with physical injury, lost wages or medical expenses as a result, handling insurance matters can be confusing and difficult. If you or a loved one has experienced injury or property damage in a car accident, the Law Offices of James F. Swindoll may be able to help. Call our offices toll-free at (800) 848-1290 or complete the form at right to request your free attorney consultation.

8th Circuit Courthouse

Our advice: The 10 things you can do to protect your rights after you've been involved in a car wreck

1. Call the police. Do not move any vehicles until after the police arrive (unless you have to for safety reasons or state law such as current Arkansas law which requires you to move to the side of the road).

2. Courteously ask for the other driver's license and insurance card. Write down all information about the other driver, including name, address, date of birth, driver's license number, name of insurance company, and policy number.

3. Also note the license plate number, make, and model of the other car. If a large truck is involved, write down everything that is printed on the side of the truck including any numbers.

4. Except as advised above, avoid talking with the driver and passengers in the other car. Do not tell them you were at fault or that your insurance will pay for their damage or injuries. Don't argue with them either.

5. Stay calm and courteous when the police arrive. In talking with the police, tell the police in detail what happened. Be truthful but do not say you were at fault. Remember to not make guesses about time, speed, and distance, as guess-timates often are very wrong. Tell only the officer if you suspect drug or alcohol use by the other driver, or if you notice anything else unusual, like the driver switching places with a passenger after the collision. Do not say that you feel fine and are not hurt--some injury symptoms do not surface for days. If the officer gives you a ticket, do not argue or protest. You may sign the ticket to acknowledge receipt--that does not mean you agree with the officer. If you are not ticketed, ask the investigating police officer for his/her card, or anything else showing the officer's name and law enforcement agency. Ask the officer to write on the accident report that you desire not to be contacted by or receive solicitations from attorneys, chiropractors, investigators, etc. concerning the accident.

6. Look around for witnesses, and ask all of them for their names, addresses, home and work numbers. Write down this information for your lawyer.

7. If you suspect that you may be hurt, see a physician immediately. Tell the doctor that you've been in an accident.

8. Call your insurance agent as soon as possible after the accident and tell them about the accident and cooperate with them.

9. Do not do any of these things until you first talk with your lawyer: 1) give a statement to any insurance company representative; 2) sign any paper for anybody, even your own insurance agent (except for a citation, if the police officer requests); 3) make any appearance or plea if you are ticketed for the accident; sell or release your vehicle salvage.

10. If a strange or unknown person appears at the accident scene and offers you a ride to a chiropractor's office or lawyer's office, or if you are called later by a stranger who learns of the accident, get his name and tag/phone number. Do not talk or cooperate with him.

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