After an accident, tensions can run high. Drivers may be hurt or emotionally shaken, which makes decision-making difficult. With auto accidents on the rise in Gainesville, being prepared can help minimize the unwise choices unintentionally made following a car accident. Immediately following an accident, follow these tips for proper documentation to ensure a speedy and fair insurance claim process. You will also want to contact a personal injury law firm in Gainesville. Steven A. Bagen Law Firm is a personal injury firm with offices in Gainesville and Ocala, Florida.
Call the Police
In small fender benders, both parties might feel silly calling the police. Don't. Many of these amicable accidents turn contentious when insurance companies get involved. A police officer is a trained and independent third party who can provide invaluable reports when trying to settle an accident claim. Since both parties in the accident have a vested interest in the outcome, insurance companies rely on police reports for a unbiased opinion on what happened during the accident. Even if you don't think there's much damage and even before calling an accident law firm Gainesville or Ocala, call the local police station. A police report may be the saving grace from being stuck paying high premiums following an accident.
Whether you have a built-in camera on your smartphone or store a disposable camera in the glove box, pictures are crucial for any accident, big or small. While accident reports may record damages, a picture shows irrefutable evidence of the damage done. Take as many photos as possible from different angles and distances from the cars. Make sure to provide close-up and full side pictures of damages on your car. Also, get any road damage such as skid marks or road obstructions. Put a time stamp on your photos or take an additional photo showing the date of the accident. There's no such thing as too many photos following an accident, so be sure to fill your camera.
Over the course of the weeks or months required to process an accident claim, some details may slip your mind. While the accident is fresh, take the time to jot down your observations about the accident. Try to recall the speed at which you were traveling, the road conditions, and what was said following the accident by you, the other driver, and any passengers. If you noticed any distracted driving on the part of the other driver, be sure to record it in your notes, and alert the police officer on the scene. These small details may prove useful in ensuing discussions with insurance adjusters.
Even with a trained police officer on the scene, details may be missed. Don't rely on the other party or the police for information to process the insurance claim. Be sure you document the other driver's name and insurance information. Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses or passengers in the other driver's car. Additionally, take down the license plate, make, model, and year of the other driver's car. Claims processing can get messy, especially when neither party thinks they're at fault. Having all the information available to your insurance claims adjuster will make sure the process is as painless as possible.
Get an Expert
An accident law firm in Gainesville or Ocala should be contacted if you suspect an accident will result in large medical bills or was caused by negligence on the part of a driver, automaker, or local government. A professional car accident lawyer can not only ensure the insurance claims process goes smoothly, but also help compensate you for lost wages, medical care, and any related pain. An accident law firm in Gainesville or Ocala can provide a free consultation to assess whether your car accident requires professional assistance.
No matter the severity, a car accident is a scary situation with a long-lasting aftermath. Knowing what documentation and steps are needed to proceed with the insurance claim will help make the process less intimidating. Always remember to contact the police, take notes and pictures, exchange all pertinent information with the other driver, and contact an accident law firm in Gainesville or Ocala, such as Steven A. Bagen & Associates, for the best possible outcome following your car accident.