At Coxwell & Associates, we get calls from clients asking what to do after an accident. To help our clients and potential clients, we have put together some suggestions just in case you happen to be involved in an accident. It is often difficult to think clearly after a car accident. It is important to know what to do and what steps to take to protect yourself. This checklist will help you know what to do after a car accident. It is a good idea to memorize the checklist and then print it out and keep a copy with you in your car.
Stay as calm as possible under the situation. If you have children present, they need your strength, especially if someone has been hurt. In situations where an serious injury has occured, getting medical attention is the first and most important thing to do. Police officers are typically called in cases where the automobile accidents takes place on public roads. After the accident you will have a duty to file a report. Even on private property, such as parking lots, it is better to call the police in order to have a report made. Insurance adjusters can act peculiar when there is no police report made.
Do not leave the scene until the police arrive and make a report unless there are very compelling reasons. It is violation of the law to flee the scene of an accident. A conviction can result in jail time and a fine.
The police officer is going to ask what happened in the accident. If you are shaken up and unable to think clearly then ask for a few minutes to gain your composure. before speaking be sure you have a clear understanding of the accidnt. What you say to an officer will be placed in the report and might be used against you in a later proceeding. Too often I have seen people get in a car accidnet that was not their fault, and in the report the officer reported that the perosn said they did not know what happened. With everyone all shook up it can be hard not to talk about what just happened, but that can also lead to you not thinking clearly and accurately about what happened. It is important to limit your discussion of the accident and not to admit any fault or liability. You should talk about the accident with the police and your insurance agent only.
Get the Facts This is the part most people know to do, but often forget to after the accident for one reason or another. It is important to get names, address, and phone numbers of everyone involved in the accident. A description of the car and license plate number can also be helpful, but make sure you also get their insurance company and the vehicle identification number of their car. Don’t just assume the license plate number will do because most insurance companies only record the type of car and the vehicle identification number, not the license plate number.
Call you Insurance Agent…right after speaking with your attorney!
Call your agent or insurance company’s 800-number immediately, even at the scene with the police if possible. Sometimes the police officer can give your insurance company more accurate information rather than information you may not be recording properly because you are upset by the accident. This can save you a lot of time later waiting for your claim to be processed. You should also contact the other driver’s insurance company as well, especially if that driver is at fault.
Be careful what you say to your insurance company. Be honest and truthful with them at all times but remember, the insurance company is not your attorney and has no duty to keep your conversations private. Also keep in mind that your insurance company may not have your best interests at heart. Depending on the situation, you may want to consider calling Coxwell & Associates first.
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.