While no one plans to be involved in an automobile accident, accidents happen. If you find yourself in an accident, there are some things you should know.
The first thing to do is assess the situation and determine if you are injured. If you are injured, do not move as this could put you at risk of further injury. Call 911 immediately to report the accident and get help.
If you have any passengers in the care, assess their situation, and determine if they are injured. Again, if they are injured, do not attempt to move them.
If you get out of your vehicle, make sure that it is safe for you to exit the vehicle. Try to exit on the side of the vehicle away from any lanes of travel, if possible.
DO NOT LEAVE THE SCENE OF THE ACCIDENT UNTIL THE POLICE HAVE ADVISED YOU THAT YOU ARE CLEARED TO LEAVE!
Call your insurance company and report the incident. If possible, request a tow truck through your insurance company. Even if you do not have roadside assistance available through your insurance company, many times they can provide tow assistance at a reduced cost than if you were to call directly to the tow company. Be sure to note the name of the tow company and the location where your vehicle is being towed.
If there are witnesses to the accident, obtain their names and contact information.
Provide your name and insurance information to the police and the other driver(s).
If you have a camera or smartphone with camera capabilities, take photographs if it is safe to do so. Be sure to get pictures of the damage to all vehicles involved, the license plates of all vehicles involved, damage to any property other than the involved vehicles, any objects at the scene including skid marks, debris from vehicle or property damage, etc., street signs and other landmarks that will identify the accident location. Additionally, if you note any contributing factors to the accident such as obscured traffic signs/signals, be sure to take pictures.
We also advise that you carry a small notebook in your vehicle so that should an accident happen, you can make notes. Such things to note are:
Time and date of the accident
Location of accident
Weather and traffic conditions
Description of any injuries and damage
Details of police and emergency involvement
Any other details you feel you may need
Following the accident, you should seek medical treatment. Although you may not notice any injuries immediately following the accident, there could be internal injuries that may not show any signs right away. Follow any advice your doctor provides to you. We suggest that you keep a diary/log of your medical visits, medications prescribed, and any pain/injury you are experiencing.
It is advised at this point to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to guide you through the next steps. We do not recommend that you talk to the at-fault’s insurance company. They will try to get information out of you to use against you, so they do not have to pay you at all, or pay you as much. They will try to push you into a quick settlement. Once you settle with them, you will forever be barred from pursuing any additional claims against them for the accident and your injuries.