Millions of car crashes occur in the United States each year, resulting in vehicle and property damage, personal injury, and death. Knowing the immediate steps to take after getting into an accident is crucial.
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, take the following steps right away:
1. Stop Immediately
Most states have laws that require drivers to immediately stop their vehicle after getting into a collision. Never drive away after an accident, even if you’re unsure whether you made contact with the object, vehicle, or pedestrian.
2. Assess The Scene
Ensuring the safety of all involved in the accident is the number one priority. If you are in a vehicle with one or more people, check to see if anyone in your vehicle is injured.
After looking after your own safety, be sure to see if any other parties involved in the accident are okay. If there appears to be vehicle damage or injury, offer your assistance.
If the accident has occurred on a busy road or during hazardous weather conditions, take proper precautions by turning on your hazard lights and do not step onto the busy roadway.
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3. Seek Medical Attention
If anyone at the scene of the accident has suffered severe injuries, including bumps or injury to the head, call 9-1-1 immediately. Emergency medical personnel can dispatch an ambulance to your location to transport injured parties to the nearest (or preferred) hospital.
4. Report The Accident To Police
If emergency medical responders have not called law enforcement onto the scene, call the police to request their assistance. If vehicle damage or personal injury has occurred, a police officer will need to file an accident report.
The police officer will ask you questions regarding the nature of the incident. Describe the accident as plainly as you can, and be honest. Getting a police report is often required to file a claim with your insurance for accident coverage.
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5. Exchange Information
Do not leave the scene of an accident without getting the contact information of all other motorists, or pedestrians, involved—regardless of whether it’s a minor or severe collision.
Collect personal information such as names, phone numbers, insurance information (including policy number), driver’s license number, and vehicle registration information. If there are any witnesses to the accident, consider collecting their names and contact information as well.
6. Take Photos
Once it is safe for you to do so, begin gathering evidence of the accident to keep for your personal record. Take photos of all vehicles involved, license plate number, injuries, and any other accident-related damage.
7. Write Down Details
It’s normal to feel confused and out of sorts after an accident. However, it’s important to get down the details of the incident as soon as you can while they are still fresh in your mind.
Details to document include:
- time and date of the accident
- a timeline of what happened
- actions you took to report the accident (e.g. called the police)
- types of vehicle and/or property damage
8. Contact Your Auto Insurance
To ensure you are able to receive accident coverage without unnecessary delay or issue, you’ll need to report the accident to your auto insurance company. Do not make any statement of fault before speaking to an experienced car accident attorney.
An insurance agent will instruct you on filing a car accident claim and provide you with any other actions you may need to take in order to receive prompt payment.
9. Keep A File
Compile the information you’ve documented about the accident into a file so you can keep a personal record of what’s happened. Upon filing an auto insurance claim, the insurance adjuster may request specific information regarding the accident and resulting damage.
Failing to provide detailed information about the accident and vehicle damage may cause your claim to be denied or undervalued. Add your claim number, police report information, and any other accident-related documentation to this file as well.
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10. Contact A Lawyer
Getting the auto coverage you’re owed after an auto accident can sometimes be tricky. It can be helpful to have an experienced legal professional on your side to explain your rights after an accident and to ensure your insurance company processes your claim fairly.
At Florin|Roebig law firm, our award-winning car accident lawyers can assist you in preparing a statement for your car insurance, filing a claim, and ensuring you are able to receive the coverage you are owed under your insurance policy.
If you or a loved one have been in an auto accident, call Florin|Roebig today to schedule a free consultation to talk to one of our seasoned car accident lawyers.