What to do after a car accident
There are many things you should take into account after you have been in a motor vehicle accident. Whether or not you can personally do these things, is going to depend on the severity of the accident and, if or how badly you have been injured.
Even if you have minor injuries, many motorists can be badly shaken up and upset over what has just happened to them. So we have decided to write out a list of things you should do or try to do to ensure that you are handling the situation appropriately and to make sure you are compensated for what has happened to you.
The most important thing is to stay calm and keep a level head.
1. Stay at the Scene
Always stay at the scene of an accident, whether it was your fault or another persons unless it is a medical necessity that you head to the hospital immediately. Also, because you do not know the other person or if they will stay, immediately look at their license plate so if they do leave after having done damage to your car, you can give the plate number to the police.
2. Phone calls
One of the first things you need to do is call the police. This way they will be immediately on their way while you are talking with the other driver involved in the accident. The police should always be involved, even if the other driver, and/or you, do not want to report it to your insurance companies. This way a report will be on file so if there is damage that needs to be fixed then the other driver cannot say it was not them because you will have something on file from the police. If you do decide to report it to insurance, this will also help you with damages because it will be on file and will have been reported immediately after the incident occurred.
3. Make sure everyone involved in the accident is okay
After calling the police, make sure everyone in your car as well as everyone from the other party are okay and if possible move yourselves to a safer area until the police do get there and can block off the road from oncoming cars.
4. Do make any statement of who was at fault
Even if you feel that a portion of the accident may have been your fault, do not make statements as to fault. Post accident victims are generally in shock, confused and may lack of full picture of the accident sequence.
5. Exchange Insurance and Contact Information
Exchange your name, driver’s license number, phone number and address. Also, all parties need to exchange their insurance company information, including: name of company, address, phone number and policy number.
6. Talk to people who may have seen the accident
If you happen to have an accident next to a restaurant or grocery store, talk to people who are in the parking lot or in the building. They may have seen something that will help with insurance. Get the name and phone number of everyone you talk to, so if necessary, they can be reached again.
7. Take Pictures
Always take pictures of the accident, the surroundings, any injuries you may have sustained, and anything else you feel would be important. Keep a disposable camera in your glove box so that you have something to take the pictures with. Or nowadays, with smart phones, use your phone to take as many pictures as you can.
8. Write down everything
It is always good to write everything down immediately. You will remember more, while it is still fresh in your mind. It is best if you just start at the beginning and go step by step from there. Include every detail you can remember, even your injuries you sustained. Also, write down any conversations you have with the other motorist.
9. Make your insurance company aware
It is always important to make sure your insurance company is aware that you have been in a car accident and there has been damage done to your vehicle. If you and the other party decide you do not want to report it to your insurance company than that is fine as well. You can just skip this step.
10. Contact an attorney
Dealing with an auto accident is complicated, time consuming a frustrating. Contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident. At Price & Randle, we are here to help you. Call us at (573) 240-8866.
Once the initial steps are done and as time goes by, make sure you do the following:
1. Keep track of any and all medical records associated with the accident
After the accident, write down any new aches or pains that have surfaced. Sometimes it does take days or even weeks before different pains start causing you problems. You also need to keep track of when you go see any doctor for injuries or pain that is associated with the incident and keep track of all medical bills. Medical problems do not just have to be aches or pains, but maybe you are suffering from psychological problems or loss of sleep due to stress or anxiety from the accident, those are also considered medical problems that need to be kept track of. Keep a journal and write down everything that hurts when you go to the doctor and what the doctor says each time you do go. While the doctor can provide his own notes, it is always good to keep a record of your own as well.
2. Get a property damage valuation
Your insurance company will come and give you a damage report on how much they will be covering for your car to be fixed or replaced, depending on the damage. Always get a second opinion. It can never hurt for you to personally take your car to another body shop to see what they might say about how much everything will cost.
3. Be careful when discussing the accident
Do not discuss details or anything about the accident besides with police, your attorney and your medical providers. If the other party’s insurance company calls to talk with you about the accident, then you need to give them your attorney or insurance agent’s phone number.
Be cautious when it comes to early settlement offers. They could try to settle with you before other injuries become apparent or any other circumstance along those lines. By taking the settlement too early, you could be setting yourself up for more bills because other injuries arose after you settled.