A car accident can be devastating. The shock of the event alone can be a lot to handle, let alone the stress that follows if you aren’t prepared. In the event of a car accident, knowing what to do next can be important.
Right After the Accident
Check first to see if the scene of the accident is immediately safe. If possible, move your car out of the middle of the road, or onto the shoulder of the highway. Do not leave the scene. Assess if you or any of your passengers are injured. Do not get out of the car if doing so might risk further injury. If there are other cars involved in the accident, see if they are injured as well.
Call emergency services. It is important to get an official police report of the event; as well as emergency medical services if they are needed. Follow any instructions given to you by the operator, as well as the police once they arrive. If you aren’t taken to a hospital by the ambulance squad that arrives, schedule an appointment with your general physician for an evaluation. Soreness and pain after a car accident can be common.
Call Your Insurance Company
You have insurance to help you when you get into an accident. Follow the instructions given to you by the agent. Request a tow from the insurance company. Make a note of which tow company is being used and where your car is being taken. Many insurance agencies now have smartphone apps that help you make a claim with relative ease.
Do not admit fault. Be polite, and try not to show hostility. Take down the names and insurance information of the other drivers involved, as well as their license plate numbers and phone numbers. If they do not have insurance, ask for further contact information. If there are any witnesses, ask for their names and contact information.
Provide Your Insurance Information, Safely
While providing the information for insurance purposes is very important, you should be sure to protect your identity. Do not allow for your registration or license to be photographed. Do not give out your address, or contact information beyond your name and phone number. You should, however, provide your insurance information to the other drivers.
Your insurance information that you should provide includes: the name of the insurance company; the agent you spoke with’s name and number; your car’s make, model, year, color, and VIN.
Document the Scene
Be sure to take pictures if possible. You should try to get pictures that provide the location of the accident, damage to each car, damage to property, accident debris, skid marks, license plates, etc. If certain factors led to the accident, such as a hidden stop sign or downed tree, be sure to take pictures of that as well. Write down the date and time of the accident, as well as the weather and traffic flow at the time of the incident. Be sure to get a copy of all accident reports filed by the police or other drivers.
Consider Seeking Legal Help
If you or a loved one is injured during the accident, or if your insurance won’t cover the full damages, consider looking towards legal counsel as the next step. Sometimes injury occurs or is felt after the accident. If the cause is the incident, you may have grounds for legal action. Do not meet with other parties involved in the accident without a lawyer present. Do not sign anything from another party or from that party’s lawyer without discussing it with your legal counsel first.
For over 25 years, D’Agostino & Associates, P.C. has been assisting people in the New York/New Jersey area with injury cases of all shapes and sizes; from auto accidents to dog bites. Bite Back with D’Agostino & Associates, P.C.