If you have had an accident, you may be wondering, “What should I do now?” It can be a confusing and frustrating time. You may be injured, and reeling emotionally from the experience. You will receive advice from the police, bystanders, family, friends and more. If you find yourself in this situation, here is an easy to follow guide, that can help you maintain calm and control.
1.Stay at the scene of the accident; never leave until you have been released to do so. If you leave, you may risk severe criminal penalties if anyone else was injured or killed.
2. Check on All Drivers and Passengers. The first step it to make sure all people involved are ok; if they require medical attention, call 911 immediately. Make sure never to move someone until medical staff arrives, unless some danger requires you to do so.
3.Call the Police. This is an important step if there is property damage, injury, or death. Request that a police report be filed, and take note of the names and badge numbers of officers that are on the scene.
4.Provide your information to the other driver(s) involved, and obtain their information in return. Information should include:
c.Drivers’ license numbers
d.License plate numbers
e.Basic insurance information (company name, phone number and policy, if possible)
5) Keep conversations with others involved to a minimum.
Be respectful and cooperative, but don’t apologize for anything, as you could inadvertently be admitting liability for the incident.
6) Approach witnesses.
Try to include details from any witnesses, such as if they’ve seen other accidents in the same place, ask their names and contact information, if they are willing to provide.
7) Call your insurance company.
Notify your company as soon as possible, and communicate with them directly and honestly regarding the accident and your injuries.
8) Request and go over any police report that is filed, to verify the information, what laws were broken, and to determine fault.
9) Keep Track of Your Medical Treatment
Start a file that includes any notes from doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, or other medical professionals that you visit, and each medical provider that referred you to other caregivers. Keep an organized log of treatments or medications you receive.
10) Request copies of all medical reports and bills.
In addition, keep a journal or log of how your injuries are affecting (affected) your day to day life, duties, etc. Be sure to include time off from work, people hired to help complete tasks you generally manage.
11) Take Pictures.
Any photos of property damage are important as soon as possible. Before and after pictures of your car will also help your insurance company to figure out how much you should be compensated.
12) Obtain your property damage valuation from your insurance company.
If you aren’t satisfied with how your insurance company has valued your vehicle, don’t give up. You have the right to get independent repair estimates and replacement value quotes. Communicate your concerns to the insurance adjuster. If you cannot reach an agreement, consider mediation or an attorney’s help.
13) Exercise good judgment in talking about the accident
Don’t talk to anyone about the incident besides your attorney, insurance company, and the police. Do not talk to someone from the other 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. Make sure to tell your attorney or insurer about the call. Do NOT post anything on social media about the accident.
14) Carefully consider Early Settlement Offers
Do not accept the first settlement offer you receive until you verify all your physical injuries have been treated. Often, injuries fully develop or reach their height of severity until several weeks later. Wait until you know you’ll be compensated for all your injuries and speak with an attorney before signing any settlement documents.
15) Think about hiring an Accident attorney
If you or anyone else with you was injured in the accident, consulting a lawyer who specializes in accidents or personal injury can assist you in maximizing your claim and recovery. Often, accident attorneys work on a contingent fee, meaning they only receive payment if you are awarded damages or a settlement. Contact an experienced accident attorney in Orange County today if you have had an accident.