If you are involved in an accident it is important to know how to proceed to protect your rights and assure a better outcome for yourself and your loved ones.
1. Seek medical care for anyone who is injured
If you or anyone else is seriously injured, call 911 immediately.
2. Obtain Information
Be sure to get the name, addresses and phone numbers of all people involved in the accident. Write down the license plate number and make and model of each car involved in the accident as well as the driver license number, insurance company and policy number for everyone involved.
3. Identify witnesses
It is important to identify any potential witnesses in the area who may have witnessed the accident and obtain their contact information. This information may make prove critical down the line.
4. Take pictures and document the scene
Take photos of the accident scene and vehicle damage. Record the details of the accident while they are fresh in your memory. Draw a diagram to recreate the scene.
5. File a police report
Even if you do not believe anyone is hurt from the accident, you should always contact the police and file an accident report. Be sure to get the officer’s information and the report number.
6. Seek medical treatment
If you were injured, it is extremely important that you see a medical provider immediately. Waiting to see a doctor may jeopardize your claim, as insurance companies will frequently rely on any gap in time between the accident and the date of first medical treatment in denying claims or making low settlement offers.
7. Preserve evidence
Preserve all equipment involved in the crash. Do not throw out or repair any damaged property.
8. Contact a personal injury attorney
Once you have secured all the necessary information, documented the scene, and sought medical treatment, you should immediately contact a personal injury lawyer to advise you on the next steps to take given your specific accident circumstances. Do not speak with any insurance company representative until after speaking with an attorney. The sooner that you contact an experienced attorney, the sooner the attorney can begin to talk to witnesses and gather the physical evidence that will be necessary for your case.