Car accidents happen every day, but if you have never been in an accident, you may not have thought about the important things to do right after the accident. If the accident is minor, you still need to stop and check the damage. The very first thing to do is ascertain if there are any injuries to you or anyone else. If so, call an ambulance immediately or ask a bystander to call one. If you are all right, here are the steps you should take:
Call the Police
The vehicles involved in the accident should not be moved until the police come and get the information they need to make an official report. Of course, if you need to reach an injured person, you must move things, otherwise, leave it as is. The police will take photos and measure distances as well as question you, the other driver, and any witnesses.
A police report will be required by any insurance company involved in the accident, especially the one that has to pay. Be sure to trade your name, address, and insurance information with the other party. That’s all you need to trade. Don’t give unnecessary information like your driver’s license number or social security number.
At this time, don’t admit responsibility for the accident even if you think it was your fault. There may be extenuating circumstances that only come to light during an investigation. It will not help your case if you have already gone on record as taking responsibility. Your best course is to not discuss the accident with anyone yet. Just answer the police officer’s questions.
Most people have smartphones these days that take high-quality photos. You should walk around the accident scene and take photos of the vehicles from every angle. If you don’t have a phone or any other camera, make sure the police take photos.
It may be obvious which driver was at fault, but it may not. Photos can help determine what exactly happened in case there is any dispute. You can even take photos of skid marks and bystanders and get the name and address of anyone who witnessed the accident.
Keep the accident photos in a separate folder on your phone. It will automatically embed the photos with the time and date.
Inform Your Insurance Company
Don’t postpone informing your insurance company about the accident. As soon as you have collected information, seen a doctor if necessary, and calmed down, you should call your insurance broker and tell him or her the facts.
You will have to fill out forms and write documents about the accident and there may be a deadline after the accident when this needs to be completed. At this point, you may benefit from a car accident lawyer in Buffalo.
A lawyer who is a specialist in car accidents is your best option. He or she will know the ins and outs of fighting large insurance companies to get you the medical or other compensation you deserve. This is not something you want to do on your own.
Consult your car accident lawyer before you sign any documents presented to you by any insurance company including your own. Most insurance companies work very hard to minimize any compensation they have to pay. You could be signing away your rights and not realize it.
If you are not injured and are calm, it may be good to call your insurance company from the scene of the accident. In some cases, the attending police officer may speak to your broker and give clearer information than you can give.
Insurance Company Check List
• The date, time, and location of the accident including nearest cross street
• The directions you and the other vehicle were traveling
• The condition of the road and weather
• The make, model, and year of the vehicle
• The license plate number
• The vehicle registration information
• The name and badge number of the police officer who attends the accident scene
Be aware that the other driver may be angry and accuse you of causing the accident. They may yell at you and try to intimidate you to admit fault. You are now armed with the exact steps you need to take after an accident and do not need to subject yourself to abuse from the other driver.