If you find yourself involved in a car accident, you may be confused, frightened, and in shock. It’s common to wonder what you should do next.
Read on to learn how to handle a car accident.
Steps to Take
If you’re involved in a car accident, you should take the following steps:
Don’t drive away. This may seem obvious, but if you’re in an accident, remain at the scene until everything has been handled. A hit and run is a federal offense.
Shield the scene. Put your hazard lights on and set up flares, if you have them.
Call the authorities. It’s a wise choice to call the police and make a report, even if there are no serious injuries. Your insurance company and your attorney may request a police report to help with your claim. If the vehicles don’t interfere with traffic, leave them where they are. Otherwise, move them over to a safe place after taking images of the collision.
Record the scene. When speaking to the police, make sure you tell them everything you remember; just as you remember it. If there are certain things about the accident that you don’t know, don’t speculate. Just tell the officer that you don’t know. If you’re unsure whether you’re injured, tell the officer you’re unsure rather than you’re not injured. When you’re in shock, your body produces extra adrenaline, which may prevent you from feeling the pain of your injuries right away. Additionally, do your best to make sure that others involved in the accident provide an accurate report to the police as well.
Take photos. If there’s any visible damage present to the vehicles involved in the wreck, be sure to take a thorough record of the damages. Take lots of photos of all the damages to all the vehicles. If you have any noticeable injuries, photograph them also.
Collect information. The police may do this for you, but if they don’t, be sure to get the following information from everyone involved in the accident:
- Telephone numbers
Additionally, you should get the following information from the other driver(s) involved in the accident:
- Driver’s license
- Insurance information
- Vehicle registration
If there are any witnesses present, be sure to get their information, too.
Obtain the police report number once the officers have finished their report so that you can gain access to it once it becomes available.
Seek medical care. You may not feel the pain of your injuries directly after the accident. When your body goes into shock, you may be prevented from feeling hurt due to added adrenaline pulsing through your body. You’re more likely to feel the true pain of your injuries one or two days following the accident, but it’s possible not to feel pain for weeks following the accident. It’s for this reason that you should have yourself checked out by a medical professional right away. It’s possible for your spinal cord to endure a serious injury that you may not be immediately aware of. If you were unconscious or dazed after the collision, even for just a short time, it’s possible for you to have a concussion or closed head injury. If these injuries aren’t treated right away, they can have serious cognitive and behavioral consequences.
Contact your attorney. Before speaking with the insurance company, it’s a good idea to seek advice from your attorney. Your attorney may even want to speak to the insurance company for you so that you don’t end up saying anything that could ultimately hurt your claim.
Call the insurance company. After speaking with your attorney, report the accident to the insurance company right away. Whether you do this or your attorney does this for you, it’s important not to say too much. Don’t offer up any information that isn’t asked of you. Keep your statements short, sweet, and to the point. Don’t talk to the insurance company when you’re in a heightened emotional state, because you’ll need to pack your patience. It may even be helpful to record the call with the insurance company in case they try to backpedal their statements later on. After all, they’re guaranteed to be recording you.
Keep it together. Keep an accurate and detailed record of all documents related to your claim. Having this information together in a neat package will help your attorney provide you with the best possible representation.
We’re Here For Your Support
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, our attorneys at Farnsworth & Vance are here to help. Our team is highly experienced in these sorts of cases and we have helped many other people just like you. Don’t hesitate to contact us with your case right away!
Call Farnsworth & Vance today at (907) 290-2576 to speak with an attorney about your potential case.