Being in an automobile accident is among the worst fears we have for ourselves and our loved ones. Even if an accident does not involve injuries, it can be difficult to think clearly. But not taking certain steps can jeopardize your ability to recover, and may even violate the law.
These are the things you should do in the immediate aftermath of an accident:
This is obvious in the event of serious injuries to yourself or your passengers. However, some injuries take a long time to reveal themselves. So even if you think the accident did nothing to you, a doctor can make sure.
A critical step in establishing liability for your automobile accident is to document what happened with law enforcement. Make sure the police show up and tell them everything you know about the wreck. Obtain a copy of the report as soon as you can.
Notifying law enforcement is required by law if the accident caused injury, death, or property damage over $500.
Whatever you say to the other driver could be used against you later, so be careful to not admit anything. Although you need to answer police questions honestly, the less you say, the better.
If the automobile accident was not your fault, you can make a claim against the other driver’s insurance company. But this requires exchanging insurance information. You should also swap contact information and other details such as vehicle tags and driver’s license numbers.
Your policy will likely contain a notice provision requiring that you inform your insurance company about the accident. Failure to do so risks denial of your own policy’s uninsured or underinsured coverage.
If it’s safe to do so, take pictures of the accident scene and of your vehicle. Make sure the pictures are detailed enough that they depict the positions of all vehicles involved, including yours. Also, be sure to capture any other relevant information such as weather conditions or skid marks.
Write down, in detail, everything you know about the accident – even if you took pictures. Include such information as time of day, location of the automobile accident, and how it occurred. Write down what you can remember happening before the accident, and take notes about the other driver. You never know what information can prove useful later, so always err on the side of more notes.
Approach any witnesses at the scene and politely ask for their contact information and a statement. You may need their assistance later when it comes to holding the other driver responsible. If a witness declines to get involved, don’t force the issue; move on to the next one.
In many areas there are privately owned surveillance cameras, and one may have captured your accident. It may take time to obtain a copy of it, but it could be worth doing so in your case. Footage from government-owned cameras will be harder to come by.
If your claim is being stonewalled by the insurance company, we can help. Our automobile accident attorneys can also answer any questions or concerns involving your wreck. You should certainly talk to an attorney if the other driver accuses you of causing the accident or isn’t cooperating. Call Hammers Law Firm today to speak with our dedicated team and set up a consultation.