Millions of accidents occur every year. No one expects to get into a car accident, so when an accident happens to you, it is all too easy to forget what you should do in the moments and days afterward—especially if you were seriously injured in the accident.
Should you find yourself involved in a car accident, use these steps as a guide for how to proceed. Not only will they help you get past the initial shock, but they will help put you in the best position possible if you need to explore a legal action for compensation.
- Stick Around – Never leave the scene of an accident, no matter how minor you feel it is.
- Protect Yourself and the Scene – Guarding against additional accidents and harm is imperative. Turn on your flashers to warn other drivers of your position. Utilize road flares and flashlights, especially at night, so your location can be seen by oncoming traffic.
- Contact the Police – Whether there are serious injuries or not, it is a good idea to contact local law enforcement. Your insurance may require a police report for claims, even if it is just regarding damage to your vehicle.
- Create an Accurate Record – When speaking to the police, do not make guesses about information you do not know, or speculate. If you do not know if you sustained injuries, say you are not certain. Remember, pain and evidence of injuries may not manifest right away. Take pictures of the scene and the damage to both vehicles, and any injuries you sustain. If you can’t take pictures right away, do so as soon as you can.
- Report to Insurance – Let the insurance company know about your accident as soon as you are able. Many insurance policies require you to report immediately and give full cooperation. Your (Personal Injury Protection) PIP policy will generally pay your bills and lost wages after you fill out a PIP application form and offer medical payments or require you to bill through the insurance.
- Exchange Information with Others – In accidents where the police respond, they will likely see to the exchange of information between drivers. However, if the police do not respond, you will need to do so yourself. Gather name, address, and telephone numbers for everyone involved. Ask to see the other driver’s insurance card so you have this information. Also gather information about any witnesses.
- See a Doctor – Even if you don’t think you have serious injuries, it is still wise to go see a doctor right away just to be sure. Urgent care centers are perfect for this type of medical visit if you do not want to visit the emergency room. See a doctor to ensure you are healthy, and to establish a record of what happened to you physically.
- Save Your Documentation – Put together a file of everything you have regarding the accident. Make sure you save any claim numbers, as well as the name of the claims adjuster handling your accident.
Steven A. Bagen & Associates Can Help
Protecting your rights is the most important thing you can do after an accident. A personal injury attorney can offer advice on everything needed to receive the most from your insurance, as well as from any claims you need to file. Contact Steven A. Bagen & Associates for more information on how we can help!