After an accident, you may not be in a position to gather yourself up to do what you should. You may be in shock, dealing with pain, and just confused. If you are not careful, you will lose a lot.
There are proper steps you can take and safeguard yourself after an accident. By involving the police and letting your attorney help out, you will increase your chances towards total compensation by your insurance company.
Below is a guide on how you can handle the accident and the events that follow so you don’t lose out.
1) Consult Your Attorney
Your attorney will help in protecting your rights and making sure that no one destroys your valuable evidence. He will also help to ensure you get total compensation for your vehicle. They will also make sure that you receive the best possible medical care available.
Your insurance company will want you to make a statement with them about the accident almost immediately. Conforming to Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer, it’s essential to do so after consulting your attorney. A courageous attorney will stand with you and know the buttons to press for a successful claim.
2) Never Drive Away from the Accident Scene
Stop immediately after you have been involved in an accident. It is your legal obligation. Halt your car any time you hit something. The other obligation you have while at the scene is towards your insurance company. Don’t admit fault for the accident.
For a minor accident, stop your car where it does not impede traffic. Then use your emergency kit, like a reflective triangle, to alert other drivers to slow down. If the accident is severe, leave the vehicles as they are.
3) Set Up Flares, and Keep Your Flashes On
You must protect the scene and prevent further accidents. It would be best to have a flashlight in your car, which you can use at night when your lights have failed. Leaving your hazard lights on, turn off your engine and wait for help. It is best if you wait from a safe place.
4) Call the Police
Contact the police immediately if you’re involved in an accident. A police report is what will help you afterward. Otherwise, you do not have a case, and you can’t make any claim to your insurance company.
Also, obtain the name, badge number, and phone number of the investigating officer. Do not forget to ask for the police report number which you would use to access the report. If the police do not come, you will have to get to the nearest police station and fill out the report.
The police may call a truck to tow your car to a collision repair center. Verify the credentials of the tow truck company and note their contact information. If you have a preferred arrangement to tow your car, let the officer know.
5) Make an Accurate Statement
Do not guess, speculate or misstate any facts to the investigating officer. If you’re not sure about specific facts, say you’re not sure rather than stretching the truth or saying no. Report the state of your injuries to the officer as well.
6) Take Good Pictures and Document the Accident Scene
Pictures will help tell the severity of your injuries and estimate your property damage due to the accident’s impact. The estimates are critical in calculating your case’s value and the compensation you will receive. Your insurance company will want to know every detail of the accident.
Use your smartphone camera to collect as many details as possible about the accident. Take a photo of the entire accident scene, including any property damage and skid marks. Also, sketch the diagram of the accident scene.
Dictate the details of the crash in your phone recorder while your thoughts are still fresh. Note the date and time of the accident. Also, write down the street name and the relative position of the cars to the street. Capture the direction where the cars were heading before the crash and after.
7) Exchange Information
After you make contact with the police, they will give all drivers a police report number. You will use that number to access the police report. However, in the event the police don’t come, you need to obtain certain vital information. This includes:
- Name, phone number, and address of all persons involved in the accident
- Insurance card information; insurance policy number, and the insurer’s name and phone number
- Driver’s license numbers for all drivers involved in the accident
- Make, model, and color
- Accident location
- License plate numbers
- Vehicle identification numbers
Do not, however, share your social security number and the limits of coverage on your insurance policy. And if you find any witnesses to the accident, write down their names and phone numbers.
8) Report the Accident to Your Insurer
Many policies mandate immediate reporting and full cooperation after an accident. Notify your insurance company in good time. If you don’t notify them, you may be held liable for damages resulting from the crash. Ask them to provide a rental car after accident while your claim is processed.
In the event the other person’s insurance is insufficient to cover your damages. Your insurer will check your policy for coverage, such as motorists underinsured, to sort that out.
9) Seek Medical Attention
Seek medical treatment even in accidents that involve minor impacts. Injuries involving motor cars are not always immediately apparent. They manifest days later. Always be checked first.
10) Keep a File
File all documents and information relating to the accident together in a safe place. The information includes:
- Expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident
- Your claim number
- Name and contact details of the claims adjuster who is following your claim
- Phone numbers and names of all other contacts
- Receipts for a rental car
When you follow these guidelines, you will make the claims process less burdensome. You also need to be prepared. Write down a checklist that will help you to navigate the process in case of an accident correctly.