Car accidents can happen quickly, leaving you stunned and confused. Emotions often run high, and many people may not know what to do after being involved in an accident. There are many steps to take after an accident, but knowing what to do can protect you. Here are some tips to follow after an accident.
CHECK ON ANY OTHER INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED
Check on other people involved in the accident. If anyone requires medical assistance, call 911. Do not move individuals with neck or back pain, unless a hazard requires it for their safety. Wait for emergency services to arrive, as they will be trained to stabilize patients.
CALL THE POLICE
If there is an injury, death, or significant property damage from the accident, contact the police. If officers do arrive at the scene, be sure to record the names and badge numbers of the officers. Request that a report be filed as well.
STAY AT THE SCENE
Do not leave until you are free to do so. Leaving before you have exchanged information with other drivers or have been dismissed by police may be seen as a hit-and-run, which can carry serious penalties.
Get the names, phone numbers, addresses, driver's license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance information of all drivers involved. You should also get the names, phone numbers, and addresses of any passengers as well. Be polite and cooperative, but be careful what you say at the scene. Any statement that serves as an admission of guilt may be used against you when determining fault.
GATHER WITNESS INFORMATION
If there were any witnesses at the scene, get their name, phone number, and address if possible. Ask what they saw, and ask locals around the area if they have seen accidents occur at that particular location before.
TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE DAMAGE
As soon as possible, take photographs of the damage to your car. These pictures can help your insurance adjuster determine the amount of compensation you deserve, and can be used in court if necessary.
CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
Be prompt and inform your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible. Cooperate with them and be truthful about what occurred. Being honest is important, because you may be denied coverage of the accident if your insurer finds out you were lying. You should also obtain a copy of the police report and review it.
KEEP RECORDS OF YOUR MEDICAL TREATMENT
Take notes of any doctors appointments, physical therapy, scans, tests, chiropractic treatments, or other treatments you receive. You should also write down what medications were prescribed to you. Request copies of medical bills and reports to provide proof of your treatment.
You should also record work you have missed, activities you were unable to participate in, and other ways the accident has caused you suffering. Keeping a journal can be a good record. This can help you to document your pain and suffering, and receive compensation.
GET A PROPERTY DAMAGE VALUATION
Your insurer will value your vehicle and the damage sustained. Obtain a copy of the report. You may also obtain independent repair estimates or quotes. Inform your insurance adjuster of your findings. An attorney can help you reach an agreement with your adjuster if you are unable to.
KEEP QUIET ABOUT THE ACCIDENT
Be mindful about discussing your accident. It is best if you refrain from talking about it with others, and save your discussions for your lawyer, your insurance company, and the police. If other insurance companies involved wish to speak to you, politely instruct them to contact your attorney to schedule an interview. Inform your insurer and your lawyer about the attempt to contact you as well.
BE CAREFUL WITH EARLY SETTLEMENT OFFERS
Early settlement offers may occur before you know the full extent of the damage or your injuries. Be sure you have been treated for all your injuries, and have allowed sufficient time to pass to ensure no new injuries appear. Consult your lawyer before signing any documents.
CONTACT AN ATTORNEY
An experienced auto accident attorney can help guide you through the process of filing your personal injury claim. They have the knowledge and skill to help maximize your compensation
Car accidents can leave lasting injuries. You deserve compensation for your suffering, and our Altoona personal injury lawyers are here to help. Our experienced team of attorneys at Goldstein, Heslop, Steele, Clapper, Oswalt, and Smith can fight for you. Contact our firm today to schedule your case evaluation.