Becoming entangled in a car accident is never a fun, pleasurable, or favorable experience. Many things can go wrong, and if the accident isn’t handled properly, even further damage can result from the wreck.
The steps you take after getting into a car accident are very important and should be considered long before an accident occurs. Keep reading to learn the steps to take following a car wreck.
STEPS TO TAKE
#1 – DON’T DRIVE AWAY
While this may seem like common sense, it’s not always widely understood. If you leave the scene of an accident without taking the proper steps first, you can be charged with a felony hit and run.
#2 – MAKE SURE THE SCENE IS SAFE
Turn on your hazard lights so other drivers are aware that an accident has occurred. If you have flares or triangles, place them around the scene so no further incidents occur. Be sure to leave the vehicles where they are, unless they impede the flow of traffic. If that’s the case, take some photos of the vehicles as they are, and then move them safely out of the traffic lane(s).
#3 – ALERT THE AUTHORITIES
No matter how little damage is incurred, it’s in your best interest to file a police report. This documentation will be very useful for your insurance claim later on and will help prove that you did everything in your power to avoid the collision.
#4 – MAKE A VALID RECORD
Once the authorities arrive, you’ll want to tell the investigating officer exactly what happened as you remember it. If there are any details about the crash that you don’t know, tell the officer that you don’t know. If the officer asks if you’re injured and you’re unsure, tell them you’re unsure rather than saying you’re unharmed. You may not feel the pain of your injuries right away, so don’t assume you’re not hurt just because you don’t feel pain. In addition, it’s a good idea to make sure the statements provided by other parties involved in the wreck are also accurate. It’s crucial that you obtain the police report number from the investigating officer so that you’ll be able to retrieve it once it’s available.
#5 – TAKE PHOTOS
Take photos of all present visible damage. If you can see your injuries, take photos of them, too. Be sure that you’re not in the way of the police investigation when doing so.
#6 – TRADE INFORMATION
Make sure that you collect the following information from all parties involved in the accident:
- Phone number
- Proof of insurance
In addition, if there are any witnesses present, be sure to get their names and phone numbers as well.
#7 – SEEK MEDICAL CARE
It’s common for injured car accident victims not to feel the pain from injuries for hours, days, or even weeks following a crash. That’s why it’s so important that you seek medical care immediately after a collision. In addition, this documentation may be very useful in proving your case later on. If there’s even the slightest chance that you could be injured, don’t risk it. See a doctor right away.
#8 – NOTIFY THE INSURANCE COMPANY
You’ll need to notify your insurance company of your accident, even if you don’t intend to file a claim with them. In addition, you’ll likely want to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company in order to recover any losses as a result of the accident. Keep in mind that you have the following options in reporting the accident to the insurance company:
- You may submit your statement in writing.
- You may submit your statement over the phone.
- You may allow your attorney to submit your statement for you.
Be cautious when speaking to the insurance company. Don’t offer up any information that they don’t explicitly ask for.
#9 – RETAIN THE DOCUMENTATION
It’s a good idea to keep all documents related to your accident neatly organized and in one place. That way, they’re easily retrievable when needed by the insurance company or your attorney.
#10 – OBTAIN SKILLED REPRESENTATION
Perhaps one of the best things you can do for your claim is to hire an attorney. Skilled car accident attorneys are aware of the tactics insurance companies use in order to avoid paying claimants the full amount of compensation they deserve.
WE’RE HERE FOR YOU
Here at Taylor & Taylor Law Firm, P.A., our attorneys are highly skilled in car accident personal injury cases. Our team has helped hundreds of other people just like you, and we’re prepared to fight for you, too. Don’t hesitate to contact our office with any questions you may have right away.