- Get Out of Harm’s Way: If you have been involved in an accident with or without injury, Massachusetts law requires that you stop at the scene. If you are able and your vehicle is drivable, you should pull off the road and out of harm’s way to avoid further accidents or injuries. Keep your cool and avoid arguments or confrontations with others on scene, especially authorities and other drivers/operators.
- Call 911: Your first call should be to 911 to report the accident to local police, fire, and EMTs who can secure the scene and ensure that any injured persons receive appropriate medical attention. Ordinarily, the police will collect names, insurance, and other pertinent information from the drivers/operators involved and any witnesses. If the accident and/or injuries are sufficiently severe, officers may also conduct an investigation, including by interviewing witnesses and taking photos of the scene and vehicles involved. Typically, officers will record all of this information in a written report prepared on or around the day of the accident. After the accident, you or your attorney will want to obtain a copy of the report.
- Collect Evidence: Only if it is safe for you or somebody else to do so (and the police aren’t doing it for you), you should collect and preserve relevant evidence for yourself, including by taking cell phone pictures of (a) drivers’ licenses and registrations for all operators involved, (b) drivers’ licenses or other identification for all witnesses involved, (c) the scene and vehicle involved, and (d) any apparent injuries to yourself and/or other occupants of your vehicle. If you believe that something on scene caused or contributed to the accident (like a construction site, object, vehicle, road condition, traffic control sign or signal, etc.), then you should attempt to capture it in your cell phone pictures or video.
- Get Medical Attention: If you are injured, you should not refuse care or transport from EMTs and other first responders. You should obtain prompt evaluation and treatment for your injuries by a doctor or physician; you should attend recommended appointments, treatments, and therapies; and you should follow-up as necessary if your condition fails to improve or worsens. If you believe that somebody else is to blame for your injuries and wish to recover damages, it is critically important that there be medical records to prove your injuries, treatment, recovery, and prognosis.
- Obtain Legal Counsel: As soon as it is practical and safe for you to do so, you should seek the advice of an attorney or counsel about your accident and injuries. If possible, it is best to do so before completing your accident report and/or having further contact with persons investigating the accident.
- Report the Accident to Your Insurer(s): Also as soon as it is practical and safe for you to do so, you must notify at least your auto insurer about the accident. Failure to promptly and truthfully notify your insurer of the accident and potential claim could result in a denial of coverage. If you have hired an attorney, he or she may be able to assist you in properly notifying your insurer of the accident.
- Submit an Accident Report to the RMV and Police: Mass. Gen. L. c. 90, s. 26 requires that a driver involved in an accident causing injury, death, or property damage of $1,000 or more complete a standard form accident report (https://www.mass.gov/doc/motor-vehicle-crash-operator-report/download) and file it with the RMV and local police within five days (https://www.mass.gov/how-to/report-a-motor-vehicle-crash).
If you or a member of your family has suffered serious injuries in a car accident, we are here to help. Call Denn Law Group, LLC at 978-252-4567.