If you are involved in an automobile accident, it can be disconcerting and nerve wracking. While no one wants to be involved in an automobile accident, if it does happen, the following suggestions may be helpful.
1) Make sure everyone is ok. If someone or even you need medical attention, call 911 and let them know. Usually, an ambulance or first responder unit will be dispatched along with police. If you are hurt, let the emergency personnel know all the particulars of your injuries. They’ll write down what you say.
2) When the police arrive, they will ask you what happened. Be as particular as possible about the details of the accident. If there are witnesses, ask the police to interview them too, or at the very least, get their contact information. They can help determine who was at fault. If the police issue a citation to the other driver, find out what it was for.
3) What if the other driver was drunk? Call the prosecutor assigned to the case and ask what your rights may be in any criminal prosecution.
4) Take pictures. If there is a lot of damage to your car or the other car, take a few pictures. Pictures of the accident scene can be helpful later if there is a dispute about injuries or who was at fault. Insurance companies love to defend cases by suggesting that the accident wasn’t bad enough to hurt you. If there is damage under the cars, to the frames or bumper brackets, try and get pictures of the damage.
5) Get insurance information from the other driver or the police.
6) Listen for admissions from the other driver about fault. If the accident wasn’t your fault and the other driver admits he was at fault or says he was sorry, make sure to note that. Those types of statements may be admissible later if his insurance company suggests the accident was your fault.
7) Report the accident to your insurance company. You may have benefits under your insurance policy like medical payment coverage or personal injury protection. Not telling your insurance company promptly about the accident can put those benefits in jeopardy.
8) Medical treatment. If you are hurt, see a medical professional and be certain to tell them all the particulars of all your injuries. Sometimes, people hurt more in one area of their body than in another. So, they tell the doctor about the really bad injury but not the not so bad injury. Later, the insurance company will argue that since you didn’t tell your doctor about a certain injury, you couldn’t have had the injury in the accident. They do this so they don’t have to pay you for that injury.
9) Early settlement. Be very careful if you get early insurance settlement offers if you got hurt. Insurance companies usually make early settlement offers before you get an injury lawyer to save money and close the claim. Contact an injury attorney to see if the settlement is in your best interest.
At Caldwell Law Group, we are happy to provide helpful information for people involved in automobile accidents. Mr. Caldwell has been handling automobile cases for twenty years. Call or email us now for a free consultation.