It happens in the blink of an eye. You are driving along and suddenly your car is hit. You are startled, shaken, possibly injured. You aren’t thinking clearly and may not know what your next steps should be. We’re here to help. We’ve outlined some important steps to take after a car accident to ensure everyone’s safety and a full record of the incident.
- Make Sure Everyone is Safe: The first and most important step is to make sure you, your passengers, and the other driver and or passengers have not been injured. If someone has been injured, call 9-1-1 immediately to request medical attention. Do not begin to argue with the other driver. Remain calm.
- Call 9-1-1: This is especially important if someone has been injured, but even if no one was hurt, you need to report the incident to the police. Wait at the scene of the accident until police arrive and only move the cars if they instruct you to do so.
- Exchange Insurance Information: This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of the drivers and insurance carrier and policy information. It is illegal to leave the scene of an accident before exchanging this information.
- Take Pictures of the Accident Scene and Damage: Take as many pictures as you can – of the accident scene, damage to the vehicles, damage to property, visible injuries, skid marks on the road. Anything that will help document what happened.
- Get Contact Information of Witnesses: Names, phone numbers, addresses, and e-mail addresses. These may come in handy once a claim is filed or if a case is brought against a driver.
- Cooperate with the Police: You are going to be scared, stressed, and angry. Do your best to remain calm and respectful. Answer all the questions honestly and completely. Do not argue with the other driver and stick to the facts of what happened. Wait on the scene until an accident report is completed.
- See a Doctor as Soon as Possible: Even if you feel fine, you should seek medical attention as soon after the accident as possible. You may suffer from delayed-onset injuries such as traumatic brain injury or internal bleeding, which may not present themselves until some time has passed. Besides protecting your health, a complete medical assessment protects your legal rights. In the state of Florida, if you do not seek medical attention within two weeks of an accident, you waive your right to Personal Insurance Protection (PIP) benefits.
- Report the Accident to Your Insurance Carrier: You must call and report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Stick to the facts of what happened and provide them with as much information as possible – including the other driver’s information and a police report if it was issued. Do not agree to speak to the other driver’s insurance company or accept an insurance company’s settlement without seeking legal representation first.
- Document Everything: Write down as many specifics as possible immediately following the accident. This includes photos from the scene, witness information, a step-by-step account of what happened prior to and immediately following the crash, medical appointments, and if injuries have affected your life.
- Hire an Experienced Attorney: If you’ve been involved in a serious crash, contact an experienced attorney with a track record of successful automobile cases as soon as possible. He or she will talk with you about your rights and responsibilities, gather all pertinent information and evidence, and deal with the insurance companies so that you can focus on getting better.
Contact Trentalange & Kelley, PA today if you have been involved in a serious car accident. We’re here to listen to you and help you get the compensation and assistance you deserve.