If you’re involved in a car accident, there are steps you need to take so that the incident is handled properly according to the law.
In addition, there are certain steps you should take in order to help with an insurance claim you file later on.
Keep reading to learn the steps to take following a car accident.
10 Steps to Take
#1 - Don’t drive away
This may seem like common sense, but not everyone knows that you need to stay on the scene of the accident until authorities have finished taking a report. If you leave prematurely, there may be legal consequences.
#2 - Secure the scene
It’s a good idea to set up flares and/or keep your hazard lights on to warn other drivers of the incident. This can help prevent further accidents from occurring.
#3 - Call the authorities
Even if no injuries are sustained and there is little property damage, it’s still in your best interest to have the police come and take an accident report. This report will be very useful for your claim later on.
#4 - Provide an accurate account of the incident
When the authorities arrive, be sure to tell the investigating officer exactly what happened as you remember it. If there are certain elements you don’t know, be honest about that. Don’t speculate, guess, or make assumptions about the facts. If you’re asked whether you’re injured and you’re unsure, tell that to the officer rather than saying you’re not injured. It’s common for accident victims not to feel the pain of injuries for hours, days, or even weeks following a crash. Also, do your best to make sure other parties involved are providing an accurate account of the events to the police.
#5 - Capture images
Use your smartphone to take pictures of the vehicles if there’s visible damage. If your injuries are visible, it’s a good idea to take photos of those as well. It’s also wise to take photos of the entire scene of the accident, including road and weather conditions as well as any obstacles present. If you’re unable to take pictures at the scene of the accident, return to the area and take images as soon as possible.
#6 - Trade information
The police should gather this for you, but be sure that you obtain the following information from all other parties involved in the accident; including passengers and witnesses:
- Phone number
You should also take photos of the following information from other drivers involved in the incident:
- Driver’s license
- Vehicle registration
- Auto insurance card
Once the police have completed their report, make sure you obtain the police report number from them so that you can retrieve it when it becomes available.
#7 - Seek medical care
You may not feel the pain of your injuries right away, which makes seeing a doctor after a crash even more important. Even minor collisions can prompt serious injuries with long-term consequences if not treated right away.
#8 - Report the incident
In the days following the accident, you’ll need to notify your insurance company of the crash, even if you don’t plan to file a claim with them. Keep in mind that you’ll need to provide a statement to the insurance company that you plan to file a claim with. This will most likely be the at-fault driver’s policy.
Remember, you’re not required to provide your statement over the phone. You have the option to provide your statement in writing if you prefer. You also have the option of having your attorney provide a statement for you.
#9 - Stay organized
It’s crucial that you keep all documentation related to your accident organized and in one place. Make sure you have the following information handy so you can retrieve it when you need it:
- The insurance claim number
- The claim’s adjuster who’s handling the claim
- Names and phone numbers of all contacts
- All relevant receipts
- Other expenses incurred due to the accident
#10 - Protect your rights
One of the best things to do after an accident is to consult your attorney. A skilled car accident attorney can protect your rights and ensure valuable evidence isn’t devastated. It’s wise to speak with your attorney before providing a statement to the insurance company so that your attorney can help you avoid the insurance company’s tricks.
We’re Here to Help
If you’ve been involved in an accident and you were injured as a result, our attorneys at Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC are here to help. We have assisted hundreds of people obtain justice, and we can help you, too. Don’t hesitate to contact our firm with your case right away.
Call us today at (866) 675-4427 to have an experienced Stuart personal injury attorney from Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC evaluate your case.