Being involved in an auto accident is a stressful experience. In this heightened state of emotion, it is easy to make a wrong step. If you are involved in a car accident, there are a few things that you should keep in mind after the event.
Immediately after an accident, it is important to assess the situation and determine whether you or any other drivers or passengers suffered injuries. Getting medical attention for those that have been injured should always be the first priority after an automobile accident, so alert the proper authorities immediately. Also, be sure to ensure your own safety, and if you can safely drive, consider moving your car off to the side of the road out of the path of oncoming traffic. This can help to prevent additional accidents and will make it easier for emergency personnel to reach the scene.
When the police arrive at the scene of an accident, you are required to provide certain information: your driver’s license, insurance information, and vehicle registration. What you choose to share beyond that is entirely up to you. In many car accidents, especially when light to moderate damage was caused and there were no injuries, it is usually a good idea to give your side of the story to the police, although you should avoid admitting fault. If you were the cause of a major accident, or if there is a chance that the accident could be the tip of the iceberg for legal trouble, feel free to exercise your right to remain silent and talk to an accident attorney before making a statement.
Gathering Party Info
It is important to obtain the names, phone numbers, and addresses of all other drivers involved in your car accident. Make note of the make, year, and model of each vehicle involved along with the license plate numbers. You should also ensure that you get the insurance information of each driver, including the company name, insurance agent contact information, and policy number. This information will be vital when it comes time to file a claim with your insurance company.
When you gather evidence for an auto claim, be sure to note the conditions of all vehicles involved. It may be helpful to take pictures of the damage to your car and any other involved vehicles. This information can help to document the damage, and it will be useful when you submit a claim to your car insurance company.
Gathering Officer Information
Before you leave the scene of an accident, be sure to get the information for any law enforcement personnel that responded. You’ll want to obtain a copy of the police report once it is completed in order to submit it with your insurance claim. Should your insurance company need additional information, having the contact information for the responding officers can be very helpful.
Contacting an accident attorney that deals with personal injury can be an important step after a car accident. You should be sure to contact an attorney in one of several situations:
- Fault is an issue
- The accident resulted in a death or serious injury
- Other parties were involved, including other vehicles or pedestrians
- The police report doesn’t accurately describe the auto accident or puts you at fault
- The accident occurred within a construction zone
- You don’t have auto insurance
- Your insurance company involves its own attorneys
There are other situations in which seeking the advice of an accident attorney may also be helpful:
- You’re unsure if your insurance company is looking out for your best interests
- You need assistance in handling negotiations with your insurer
- You are confused over the terms of your insurance policy
- You don’t understand your rights
An experienced accident attorney can ensure that you get the compensation you deserve after an auto accident.