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What To Do After A Car Accident

What should you do if you're in a car accident? When it happens, injuries may be severe and emotions high. However, there are important things to do at the scene of the accident and soon afterward. Below is a list of things to do after an accident, if possible. Keep this information handy by printing this helpful pamphlet on first steps after an auto accident and storing it in your car.

Stay at the Scene

Never leave the accident scene until it's appropriate to do so. If you leave, particularly where someone has sustained injuries or was killed, you can face serious criminal penalties for being a hit-and-run driver.

Check on All Drivers and Passengers

Before assessing property damage, make sure everyone involved in the accident is okay. Get medical attention for anyone who needs it. If a person is unconscious or has neck or back pain, don't move them until qualified medical help arrives, unless a hazard requires moving the person.

Call the Police

If there's significant property damage, physical injury, or death, you need to call the police. Ask that a police report be filed in situations where cops do arrive at the scene, and obtain the name and badge numbers of the responding officers.

Exchange Information

Get the names, numbers, addresses, drivers' license numbers, license plate numbers, and basic insurance information from all drivers involved. If there are passengers, also obtain their names, numbers, and addresses. In talking to other drivers, try to be cordial and cooperative. Be careful what you say as it could be used in Court if it ever gets that far.

Talk to Witnesses

Ask every witness what he or she saw. Get their names, numbers, or addresses, if possible. Ask locals if they've ever witnessed other accidents in the same place.

Inform Your Insurance Company

Promptly tell your insurance company you've been in an accident. Cooperate with them and tell them the truth about what happened and the extent of your injuries. Explain the facts clearly. If the insurance company finds out that you've lied to them about anything, you can get into serious trouble, including possible denial of coverage for the accident. Obtain and review any police report filed, so you can point out who broke what traffic laws or who was at fault.

Keep Track of Your Medical Treatment

Note any doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, or other medical professionals that you receive treatment from, and each medical provider that referred you to other caregivers. Keep a detailed account of the treatments or medications you receive. Also, request copies of all medical reports and bills as these help you prove your medical expenses later.

Medical expenses are relatively easy to document, but pain and suffering is trickier to prove. Keep a record of how your injuries have impacted your daily life. Include any missed workdays, list any routine activities you can't undertake, and describe how the injuries have affected your family life.

Take Pictures

Take photographs of any damage to your vehicle as soon as possible after the accident. Photos helps your insurance adjuster determine how much you should be compensated for the damage to your car and can help in court. Pictures of your car before the accident can offer a great "compare and contrast" to show the true extent of the damage sustained in the accident.

Use Caution in Discussing the Incident

Don't talk to anyone about the accident other than your lawyer, your insurance company, and the police. Don't talk to a representative of another insurance company, without the knowledge of your attorney or insurer. If called by the other insurance company, be polite, but ask them to call your attorney or insurer to arrange an interview. Also, tell your lawyer or insurer about the call.

Consider Hiring an Attorney

An attorney can always advise you of your rights whether you caused the accident or a victim of the accident. Knowledge is power, so do not hesitate to call us.

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