Being in an automobile accident is never a positive experience. Be it tough insurance companies, damage to your car, physical pain and injuries, or just inconvenience, the aftermath is not easy. However, by knowing what steps to take when you get in an accident, you will be prepared for whatever is to come.
- Call the Police: The first thing to do after any accident is to immediately call the police. No matter how small the apparent damage, the police should always be called. In fact, it may be a violation of the law not to report an accident if there is serious damage. Once the police are called, all parties involved must wait for them to arrive.
- Exchange Information: Next, exchange information with the other person. Such information includes phone number, address, license plate number, and insurance policy information (including the policy number, insurance provider, and provider’s phone number). If there are any witnesses to the accident, write down their information as well. A witness may be key in determining fault in a “he says/she says” situation.
- If Needed, Get Immediate Medical Attention: If necessary, go to the emergency room to get any injuries checked out. Some injuries take time to develop, so it may be a good idea to go even if you think you are fine.
- Tell the Police What Happened: When the police ask what happened, tell them the truth and be honest. However, do not admit fault to the police or the other person; this can only hurt you in the long run. If you believe the other person is at fault, then tell the police that. Try to get badge numbers and names from the responding officers. Do not speak to anyone else about the accident, but take down the information of any witnesses that you see.
- Document the Accident: Keep mental notes of the accident and write them down if possible. Write down weather conditions and any other information that may be relevant. Take pictures of both cars from several angles.
- Call the Insurance Company or an Attorney: If nobody was hurt, an attorney may not be necessary and you may want to call your insurance company, but the better practice is to always call an attorney first. If you are injured, see a doctor immediately and call an attorney before calling the insurance companies. If you talk to an insurance company without first consulting an attorney, you could say something that impacts your rights and ability to collect a judgment.
Accidents are always a hassle but can be managed if you know what to do. Follow the above steps to make the experience as painless as possible. If you or someone else is hurt in an automobile accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Fairlie & Lippy for a free consultation.