There is not a simple example of an automobile accident. A minor dent or scratch can be just as challenging to deal with as a totaled car or injury. Regardless of the severity of the accident the initial steps of what to do after an auto accident do not change and the following checklist will help guide you.
- Do not leave the scene of the accident. It does not matter if the accident is minor or major, leaving the scene of an accident prior to completing all necessary information can and will lead to criminal charges if applicable.
- Safety: If on a highway or interstate and you are unable to get out of your car safely, don’t. Turn emergency flashers on, call 911 to report the accident and wait for appropriate personnel to arrive. If possible, move vehicles out of traffic to decrease further accident risk and consider using any road safety items to make your vehicle visible.
- Wellness check: Once you are safe, assess yourself and passengers for injuries and call 911 accordingly prior to exiting your vehicle. If you are able to safely exit your vehicle, it is appropriate to check the other vehicles driver, passengers, and pedestrians for injuries. If you suspect a neck or back injury of a passenger do not move them, wait for an emergency vehicle and personnel to arrive. Even minor symptoms should be reported to emergency personnel.
- Keep your emotions in check. Take a deep breath and make every attempt to keep your emotions in check. This may be easier said than done, but now is not the time to lose your temper, place or admit fault. It is very important to stay calm and level headed during this stressful situation.
- Call law enforcement to the scene. An objective police report can be an invaluable piece of information when dealing with insurance companies, other drivers or legal representation. Be polite, honest and cooperative, but do not admit or place fault, speculate or guess answers to law enforcement questions.
- Document as much information as possible while at the scene of the accident.
- Name and contact information of all persons involved including the driver, passengers, and eye witnesses if any.
- Gather insurance information including the carrier, pertinent phone numbers, policyholder and policy number.
- Description of makes and models of vehicles.
- License plate number
- Accident description including location, time and weather.
- Name and badge number of law enforcement at the scene of the accident.
- Photograph as many details as possible that involve the accident but save social media posting for later.
- Lastly, request a copy of the police report.
- Report accident to your insurance company. Often insurance companies require a report following an accident as soon as possible and full cooperation is necessary, but it is important to remember that you are speaking to an insurance representative, not a friend. Provide facts, documentation and inquire the different parts of your auto insurance including medical benefits and coverage following an accident.
- Seek medical care: Even if cleared by medical personnel at the scene of the accident, following up with your family physician is important. On occasion, injuries sustained during an auto accident do not present immediately and seeking the care of a medical professional is your best option.
What to do after an auto accident can be as stressful as being in the accident itself. Consulting an experienced attorney can be the difference between protecting your rights with the insurance companies, receiving medical care and or compensation and receiving nothing. The Law Offices of Reginald Keith Davis provide skilled, experienced legal representation and specialize in the area of auto accidents.
The Law Offices of Reginald Keith Davis, Dependability When You Need it Most.