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Chain-reaction accident checklist

Winter driving can be especially dangerous as roads become slick and visibility is decreased. Just last week, a 50-car pileup in Ohio resulted in dozens of injuries. It only takes one car veering off course to jump-start a multi-car accident that can have serious consequences.

If you find yourself involved in a chain reaction crash, keep in mind the following steps to protect both your safety and your financial interests. Knowing what to do can make a big difference down the road.

First, don't drive off, even if you have not sustained any injuries or property damage. Leaving the scene of an accident may be considered a crime. In addition, you'll want to stay in order to gather some information.

Look around to see if any other motorists need assistance. Make sure anyone with an injury is moved carefully. Keep in mind that Good Samaritan laws are in place to shield you from liability if you accidentally hurt someone while trying to help.

Once you are satisfied that everyone is safe, take some photos of the accident scene, focusing on any damage to your vehicle. Photographs are extremely helpful for insurance companies trying to assess a claim and may prove to be valuable evidence if any legal action arises from the accident.

Finally, consider calling an attorney. Even if your car played a negligible role in the accident, it is still important to speak with someone who can represent your interests. You may have to deal with your insurance company, as well as claims from other motorists involved, and an experienced attorney can help you build your case and pursue any claims for damages to which you may be entitled.

Source: Injured, "What to Do After a Chain Reaction Crash," Maryam Ansari, Jan. 23, 2013

Our firm handles a broad range of personal injury matters, including motor vehicle accidents. To learn more about related claims, please visit our website.

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