What should you do when you are involved in car accident?
If you are involved in an automobile accident, what should you do to protect yourself from being taken advantage of and from being held responsible for damages and personal injury that you or other parties involved in the accident may incur?
Dennis & King Law attorneys provide some helpful steps to take in the event that you are in an accident. The nine tips to follow after a car accident involving personal injury and automobile damages are as follows:
1. STOP & TURN OFF YOUR VEHICLE
First and foremost, you never want to drive away from a scene of an accident. Also, you can cause further damage to your car or a fire can occur if you drive away with damages that can cause spontaneous combustion.
2. PROTECT THE ACCIDENT SCENE
Keeping your lights on, putting up flares, and creating a space around your vehicle, especially on a highway, can prevent you from getting ran over and also prevent others from crashing into your car if the accident occurs at night. Unless the vehicles involved in the accident are in the way of traffic, they should remain where they are until an official report and record of the damage is taken.
3. FILE AN OFFICIAL RECORD WITH POLICE
When the police arrive, make sure you tell the police officer the exact events you recall which led up to the accident. A lot of times being in an accident causes people to say things that are emotionally driven and can lead to saying misleading comments to the officer. It’s important to not speculate, misstate, or second guess yourself when stating any of the facts to the officer taking down the report. If you are asked if you are injured and you are not sure, say you are not sure, rather than just saying no.
4. TAKE QUALITY PHOTOS SHOWING DAMAGES
If you happen to have a camera in your vehicle, or a cell phone equipped with a camera, you should take pictures of the vehicles if there is visible damage. If you have visible injuries, you should photograph them as well. However, you should in no way interfere with the ongoing police investigation. If you cannot take pictures at the scene of the accident, take them as soon as possible after the accident.
5. EXCHANGE CONTACT & INSURANCE INFORMATION
Typically, the investigating police officer obtains this information. However, if the police do not respond to the accident, you should obtain the name, address and telephone number of all persons involved in the accident, drivers and passengers alike. You should also obtain information about insurance by asking to see the insurance card for all vehicles involved in the accident.
6. REPORT ACCIDENT TO INSURANCE AGENT
Notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Many policies require immediate reporting and full cooperation. Find out if you have medical benefits as part of your insurance coverage. Including witness statements and police reports for your insurance agent can help speed up the process of filing and receiving payment for your claim injuries and damages.
7. SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION
Often, injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents are not immediately obvious and can take hours or even days following the accident before you take notice. Unless you are 100% certain that you were not injured, you should seek medical attention at your local emergency room or by making a rush appointment with your family doctor. Accidents involving minor impact can still cause injuries serious enough to result in permanent injuries to your spinal cord. Losing consciousness or experiencing dizziness, even a short period of time, may be due to suffering from a concussion or a closed head injury. If left unchecked and untreated this could cause cognitive and behavioral changes.
8. KEEP A FILE OF ALL RECORDS & PHOTOS
Keep all your accident-related documents and information together. This information should include a claim number, the claim 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. If there are witnesses, you should collect information from them as well so that your insurance agent or your attorney can contact them in the future to clarify any of the details.
9. PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS & HIRE AN ATTORNEY
Contacting an attorney is probably the best thing you can do since they can remind you how successfully prevent from being at fault in an accident and giving unnecessary information that can be taken as facts of the accident that occurred. Your attorney can protect your rights and make sure valuable evidence is not compromised. Often, insurance companies want to take statements immediately after an accident. It is important that you have received legal advice before providing such a statement since the main goal of the insurance agent is to save them money on paying out for damages and medical bills over personal injury.