Being involved in a car accident can be a stressful and, at times, traumatic experience. From dealing with potential injuries, talking with police and worrying about insurance, it can be easy to forget some simple steps to take to assure the best outcome for you in all aspects.
Below is a checklist to keep in your car or on your mind in the event of a car accident:
1. SAFETY FIRST! If your vehicle in is a minor accident, move the vehicles out of traffic to a safe place. Next, check for injuries. If there is any doubt, call an ambulance.
2. Call the police, even if the accident is minor. Call 911 immediately after the accident and request the police to come to the scene. It is extremely important to cooperate with the police and give them the exact details of how the accident happened. It is important to later remember to get the accident report from the police once available.
3. Obtain and Exchange Driver Information. Obtain and exchange driver information with all parties involved in the accident. This should include full names, license number, tag number, insurance company and insurance policy number.
4. Do not admit fault for the accident or apologize for another person’s injuries. While it may be a polite reaction to admit blame following an accident by saying something like “I’m sorry, I might have been going too fast”, resist admitting fault. The other parties may try and use this information against you when filing an accident claim, even if the facts determine it may not have been your fault. Follow police instructions closely and let them determine the next steps.
5. Obtain All Witness Information. If possible, obtain any potential witness information, e.g. – name, address, phone number and email addresses of people who saw the accident, as they can often be crucial in determining automobile accident claims. It would be best to get a written statement from them and at the very least, have them give a statement into your phone recorder.
6. Photographs. Take pictures of any and all evidence leading up to the accident and all damage done as a result of the accident. This can include anything from skid marks to car damage or debris on the roadway to injuries as a result of the car accident. If you do not have a phone or camera on hand, be sure to write down every last detail of the circumstances surrounding the accident.
7. Call your Insurance Company and Lawyer. Contact your insurance company and lawyer (if you do not have an attorney, seek an experienced automobile accident attorney by contacting us). Both the insurance company and lawyer will be probably give you additional advice on what to do after a car accident to protect yourself legally and prepare for a potential law suit.
8. Post-Accident Reminders. While being guided by your lawyer and insurance company, be sure to document all post-accident costs and expenses:
• Medical Care and Expenses
• Automobile Repair Estimates and Bills
• Missed Work or School Time
• Keep a log of any pain, emotional distress, insomnia or inconvenience associated with the accident.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact our firm for a FREE consultation. Our team is ready to explain your legal options and answer any questions you may have.