After a car accident, the most important thing to do first is to get out of danger. If the accident is minor, move your car to the side of the road or to a location that is not in traffic. If the accident is more serious or your car cannot be moved, call 911, put on your hazard lights and use a flare, safety triangles, or cones to divert traffic around your vehicle until the police or emergency services arrive.
It is a good idea to seek medical attention even if you have no apparent injuries. Some injuries are not immediately noticeable. You may suffer from internal bleeding or a spinal injury, for example, but not realize it until later. Be sure to be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible after the accident.
Documenting the Crash
The time immediately following a car accident can be crucial for your claim. After calling emergency services and obtaining medical attention, it is imperative to remember two things:
- Do not provide a verbal or written statement to any insurance company.
- Do not admit fault, even if you believe you may have made a mistake.
In the chaos that follows a crash, you may not be able to see the whole picture. The most important thing is to collect what information you can and let the professionals do their jobs. If the insurance company for the other driver asks for a written or recorded statement, politely refuse. If your own insurer asks for a statement, come see us for a free consultation before providing them with a statement.
Follow these four steps to gather as much information as possible. Doing so could help facilitate your claim. If you are not able to document the scene just after the incident, try to return as soon as possible after seeking medical attention or ask someone to do it for you.
Ask to see their driver’s license and proof of insurance, and make sure to write down their name, phone number, and the make, model and color of the vehicle, as well as its license plate number. Use the camera on your phone to take pictures of these documents.
1. Get witness information
If there were any witnesses at the scene, get their contact information. Eyewitness testimony can be very important in establishing the facts of a crash.
2. Take pictures of the vehicles and scene.
Many people have cameras on their phones now, but if that’s not your case, keep a small camera in the glove compartment of your vehicle in case of an accident.
3. Report the incident to your insurance company.
Do not delay reporting an accident to your insurance company, and be careful in deciding to pay for the damage yourself. The costs may end up being significantly more than they appear at first.
4. Get help from an experienced attorney as soon as you can.
Immediately after a crash, contact the Sloan Firm for a free consultation about your case. If you wait too long after the accident, witnesses and evidence may disappear. Your attorney can handle all communications with insurance companies for you.