Top 10 Things to Do After You’ve Been in An Accident
March 28, 2013
No matter what the severity of the accident is, never drive away from the scene.
2. Stay Safe
You can prevent further accidents by setting up flares or keeping your flashers on. While you’re waiting for help, stay in the car or by the side of the road.
3. Call the Police
Even if there are no serious injuries it is a good idea to call the police. You may need a police report to file a claim with your insurance company, even if it is just to make a claim for damage to your vehicle. Unless they are interfering with traffic, the vehicles involved in the accident should remain where they are.
4. State the Facts
When the police arrive, make sure you tell the investigating officer, to the best of your ability, exactly what happened. If you do not know certain facts, tell that to the officer. Do not speculate, guess or misstate any of the facts. If you are asked if you are injured and you are not sure, say you are not sure, rather than no. You should also make sure statements made by other persons involved in the accident are accurate as well.
5. Take Photos
If you have a camera or a cell phone with a camera use it to take photos of the visible damage on all vehicles involved in the accident. If you have visible injuries, you should photograph them as well. Take all of these photos as soon as possible.
6. Exchange Information
Usually the investigating police officer obtains this information but if the police do not respond to the accident, you should obtain the name, address and telephone number of everyone involved in the accident including drivers and passengers. You should also obtain information about insurance by asking to see the insurance card for all vehicles involved in the accident. If there are witnesses, you should get information from them as well so that you or your attorney can contact them in the future. If police respond to the accident, the investigating officer usually will provide all drivers with a police report number. You can use that number later to obtain the police report. If the accident occurs on a state highway, you must request the report from the state police.
7. Report the Accident
Notify your insurance company as soon as possible and find out if you have medical benefits as part of your insurance coverage.
8. Seek Medical Attention
Oftentimes, injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents are not immediately apparent. Instead the most pain is felt a day or two following an automobile accident. Even in accidents involving minor impact, you can sustain a serious and permanent injury to your spinal cord. If you lost consciousness or were dazed for even a short period of time following the collision, you may have suffered a concussion or closed head injury.
9. Keep a File
Keep all your accident-related documents and information together. This information should include a claim number, the claim’s adjuster who is handling the claim, names and phone numbers of all contacts, receipts for a rental car and other expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
10. Protect Yourself
In most cases the important thing you should do after an accident is to consult your attorney. Oftentimes insurance companies want to take statements immediately after an accident. It is important that you have received legal advice before providing such a statement. Your attorney can advise you on issues ranging from how to make sure you are fully compensated for your vehicle to how to make sure you are getting the best medical treatment available. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no legal fee unless the attorney recovers compensation for your injuries.