Getting into a car accident can leave you with several questions, like:
- What should I do?
- Who should I call?
- Who will pay for the damages?
Keep reading to learn the answer to these questions, plus much more. In addition, check out our video for tips on handling a car accident.
10 Steps to Take
1 - Remain in Place
While it may seem like common sense not to drive off after an accident, it’s worth stating. There are serious consequences for hit-and-run offenses.
2 - Secure the Scene
Set up flares if you have them and turn on your hazard lights to let other drivers know that there’s been a collision. If the vehicles are in the way of traffic, quickly take a few photographs from all angles (if possible) before moving them to a safe place.
3 - Alert the Authorities
It’s wise to contact the police even if no serious injuries are sustained. A police report will be very valuable to your claim later on.
4 - Provide Accurate Information
Be sure to tell the authorities exactly what happened as you remember it. If there are certain considerations you don’t know, tell the officer that you don’t know. Don’t attempt to speculate about anything you’re not completely sure of. If the officer asks whether you’re injured and you’re unsure, tell them that you don’t know rather than saying no. You may have injuries that you can’t feel yet.
5 - Photograph the Scene
Use your phone to take photos of the entire scene of the accident. Be sure to take detailed photos of the damages to all vehicles involved. If you have any visible physical injuries, photograph them, too.
6 - Exchange Information
It’s wise to collect the following information from all drivers and passengers involved in the accident as well as anyone who witnessed it:
- Phone number
In addition, it’s a good idea to take pictures of the following pieces of information from the driver(s) involved in the crash:
- Driver’s license - front and back
- Auto insurance card - front and back
- Vehicle registration
Be sure the police don’t leave without first providing you with the police report number. It’ll be significantly easier for you to obtain the police report if you have the report number.
7 - Seek Medical Care
Even if you don’t feel hurt, it’s a good idea to get checked out by a physician right away. If you’re injured in the accident, you may not feel the pain of your injuries for hours, days, or even weeks after the crash. Certain injuries, even minor ones, have the potential to cause lifelong damage, so it’s in your best interest to seek medical care as soon as possible following the wreck. In addition, this documentation will be very important to your claim later, should you file for compensation to recover medical expenses.
8 - Alert the Insurance Company
Whether you plan to file a claim with your insurance company or not, most policies require that you alert them of an accident right away. If you plan to file a claim with the other party’s insurance company, be prepared to provide a statement when you contact them. Keep in mind that you have the following options for making your statement:
- Over the phone
- In writing
- Your attorney provides the statement for you
9 - Stay Organized
It’s in your best interest to keep all documentation related to your accident together and in a safe place. If you decide to hire an attorney, they’ll be able to jump on your case that much quicker if all your documents are neatly organized.
10 - Secure Representation
Consulting a skilled car accident attorney may be one of the most important steps you take after the accident. Hiring an experienced attorney can significantly benefit your claim because they can help preserve your rights and ensure that valuable evidence isn’t lost or devastated.
Providing Peace of Mind
Our attorneys here at Whiting Hagg & Dorsey, LLP are highly skilled in the area of car accident personal injury law and have helped many other people just like you recover the compensation that was rightly deserved. Let us see if we can help you, too. Don’t delay—contact our office with your case right away.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, our lawyers at Whiting Hagg & Dorsey, LLP may be able to help you receive the settlement you deserve. Give us a call at (605) 519-6136 or fill out an online contact form.