Serving North Carolina Since 1954
Actionable Legal Advice Backed By Experience

Things I Wish My Clients Had Done After Their Wreck

In virtually every wreck case there is property damage, though thankfully there is not always anyone injured. Whether people are hurt or only property is damaged, not everyone knows what to do in the event of a wreck, though, so I thought I would try to provide a little guidance in the form of a "Things I Wish My Clients Had Done" list. So here goes:

  1. Unless Otherwise Instructed, Do Not Move The Vehicles. Even if instructed to do so, make sure you take pictures with your cell phone or otherwise first. (see also #2).
  2. Take Pictures. Take pictures of your vehicle, the other vehicle(s) involved, the wreck scene, and anything else that seems relevant to you. Among the things I would recommend are the license plates of the other vehicle(s) including trailers, all sides of the other vehicles, debris in the road, and, if there is a question about whether headlights were on, the position of the light switches in the vehicles.
  3. Take Notes. Do not count on the officer to gather all the information. Often witnesses who come up and speak with you will no longer be at the scene by the time the officer arrives to investigate the wreck. So take down names and phone numbers at a minimum. If anything strikes you as odd or out of place, make a note of it. If the other driver makes a statement, make a note of what was said. You can use the notes app on your cell phone, or write on the back of an envelope or whatever, just make notes. I was once involved in a case where everyone agreed that there was "a nurse of some kind" who was at one of the vehicles immediately after the vehicles came to rest and probably saved the life of that driver. However, no one got her name or any contact information. At trial, her testimony would have been key, but since no one knew who she was, the jury never heard it.
  4. Be Careful What You Say. As people we have remorse for someone who is a bad way. At a wreck scene if you say "I'm sorry" (meaning "I regret that you are hurt even though it was your own fault" ) it may be misinterpreted (taken to mean "It was all my fault".) Also, we tend to say things like "I'm alright" (meaning "I am not in imminent danger of dying without immediate medical attention") which is often interpreted by the investigating officer (as "I sustained no injury and have no complaints of pain at all" even though that may not be the case). When nervous most people tend to talk, and unfortunately that often means talking without thinking.
  5. Report It. At the scene, call 911. Later, call your insurance company and the insurer for the at-fault driver. If you are asked for a recorded statement, see #4. I suggest you write out what you want to say as soon after the wreck as possible to get your thoughts organized. Also, consider whether you want to consult with an attorney at this point before you give the statement.
  6. Check It. Collisions between vehicle weighing nearly two tons (or for pickups and SUVs around three tons) generate a lot of force, some of which gets passed on to you. You can be injured without any visible sign of injury (brain injuries, for example). So if you have any doubt, check it out.
  7. If Injured, Treat It. Do not assume it will all go away. You are not an ostrich. That does not work for people. If you are injured seek proper medical care. If you are a fan of chiropractic medicine, you might still want to check with your primary care physician first, and get their opinion on treatment options since they are the person most familiar with your medical condition.

Finally, like us, many attorneys offer free consultations for wreck cases where people are injured. So there really is no cost for peace of mind.


By: Mike Adkins;
Practice Areas: auto accidents, personal injury, traffic tickets and motor vehicle law, wrongful death

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

How Can We Help You?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Kluttz Reamer

Office Location

Kluttz, Reamer, Hayes, Adkins & Carter, L.L.P.
129 North Main Street
Salisbury, NC 28144

Phone: 704-216-4012
Salisbury Law Office Map