Automobile accidents are one of the leading causes of personal injury claims in the United States today. If you've ever been in an accident, you know that it can become quite a hassle. Fortunately, minor incidents (such as that parking lot "fender bender") can usually be resolved between the drivers involved. However, larger collisions with significant injuries or property damage will almost always require the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Regardless of the magnitude of your collision, there are some universal "dos and don'ts" that you should keep in mind if you've had a run-in with another driver. Here are just a few of them:
DO call law enforcement immediately. No matter the size of your accident, you need to have an official third party there, and this is something that the police do every day. You will need their documentation for your insurance company, and should you need to pursue this in court, you will need it there, as well.
DO take as many photos and write down as much information as possible. Even if your accident only involves one side of the vehicle, take photos or video of the entire car from every angle. Do that for both vehicles involved. If you think that you are distracted in all of the mayhem, take a photo of the other driver's license, rather than trusting your ability to jot that information down correctly. Finally, make sure that you leave with a copy of your official police report.
DO NOT admit fault, even if you are clearly the cause of the accident.
DO NOT attempt to speak with your insurance provider until you are sure that you understand your insurance policy. If the policy is too complex for you, speak with your agent first (without mentioning the accident). Ask for a plain-text explanation, and if you can do so in email, that's a great way to get your explanation in writing. Once you understand your coverage, call the provider to report your accident and follow through.
DO NOT provide any written or formal statements to your insurance company without first speaking with your attorney. DO NOT allow them to record your conversation. DO NOT sign any type of release or waiver without first having it reviewed by your attorney.
DO act quickly if you have been in a car accident. Insurance policies have time limits for reporting, and in terms of civil lawsuits (should you need to file one), there are statutes that limit the amount of time you have to take the other party to court.
If you are unsure about how you should proceed after an automobile accident, contact the skilled and proven team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 948-1600 for a free initial consultation.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.