Stay at the Scene.
Never flee an accident, even if it’s just a bump. You never know what small internal problem may have happened.
Call the Police.
Even if it is a small accident with no injuries. Getting a proper police report will help with any insurance claims that need to be made. When a police report is made, it allows for accurate information after the accident, when people may have forgotten key details or try to take advantage.
Protect the Scene.
Make sure that the area the accident occurred in is safe and secure and that no other accidents might be caused. Turn your emergency flashers on, set up cones, or use a flashlight to deter traffic until the police can arrive.
Since you’ve called the police (step 2), make sure that you give them all of the details of the accident to the best of your memory. Don’t leave anything out or skirt over any information no matter how insignificant, it might be helpful in the long run. Don’t guess or fill in information that you aren’t 100% sure of. You never know what might be harmful or helpful when it comes time for the insurance claim.
Use a camera or your cell phone to document the damage. When you take photos of the accident you have indisputable evidence of what kind of damage occurred. Not only should you photograph any damage to all cars involved, but you should also photograph the scene and most importantly any physical injuries you may have sustained during the impact. This is something you can be doing while you wait for the police to arrive to take the accident report.
Exchange Information with all Parties Involved.
While you take photos and wait for the police to arrive, exchange insurance and contact information. If any witnesses stopped it is important to get their contact information as well as their statements might come in handy later on.
Make a Report.
Contact your insurance company directly after the accident to let them know what happened. They will tell you what your next steps will be. Find out what kind of coverage you have and what medical expenses it will cover.
Receive Medical Attention.
Far too often individuals think they are okay or that their injuries are minor, and then they go home or wake up the next morning with severe pain they didn’t realize they had. Even if you feel the slightest thing wrong, it’s important to get looked at.
Keep a File.
Car accidents don’t always end after your car is towed away and repaired. They can linger and often times result in lawsuits and can drag on for years. Keep detailed and accurate records of everything that happens. Begin with the accident photos and a copy of the police report. Keep any medical bills, any contact with insurance companies and repair shops as well. Fully document everything that happens with the accident until it is officially over.
Protect Your Rights.
One of the best things you can do for yourself after an accident is contact your attorney. Having legal advice will help keep you protected and not allow any parties involved to take advantage of you. Most attorneys work for free until there is a settlement and then they take a portion of that; so you won’t have to worry about incurring legal expenses before you are able to pay them.
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Written by: Nicole Weisbrich