If you are involved in a car accident, do you know what to do? Having a plan and knowing your priorities after a collision will help you keep calm and deal with the consequences of the incident. Although each car accident is unique and the protocol in certain situations may vary, the following is a generally a good approach.
1. Assess The Situation And Call For Help
Check to see if you or anyone else involved in the accident is injured. Safety is the priority, and you should call an ambulance immediately if anyone is injured as medical professionals are best suited to assess whether any injuries may be serious. The police should also be called to investigate and document the scene with an accident report.
2. Mind What You Say
Be careful of what you say to others about the accident and do not admit fault. The phrase “What you say can and will be used against you” typically refers to criminal matters but this principle also applies to civil matters, such as personal injury cases arising from a car accident. Try to remain calm and avoid apologizing and blaming others or yourself as to why the accident occurred. If you are interviewed by the police investigating the crash, stick to the facts as you recall them and try not to speculate or guess. A simple “I do not know” is an appropriate response if you are unsure of any specific details.
3. Take Pictures Of The Scene, Vehicles And Injuries
When it is safe to do so, use your cell phone or another camera to photograph the vehicles’ positions, the damage, the location where the accident occurred, and any other photos you believe would be helpful in proving what happened in the crash. If you do not have a camera available, take a few brief notes about the incident and sketch a diagram of the scene. If you or others have physical injuries following an accident, take pictures of those injuries when it will not interfere with any treatment by medical professionals.
4. Inform Your Insurance Company
As soon as reasonably possible after the accident, contact your insurance company to inform it about the incident. Insurance companies have reporting deadlines to extend coverage to their policyholders, and failure to report an accident in a timely manner can lead to the insurance company denying your claim. Timely reporting is very important if you might be at fault for the accident. Generally, if you are sued following a car accident, your insurance carrier will provide for your defense, as long as you have met the requirements outlined in your insurance policy.
5. Review The Damage To Your Vehicle
If your vehicle was damaged in a car accident, subject to any advice given to you by an attorney, talk with your insurance carrier about the damage. If the other party is at fault for the causing accident, the damage to your vehicle should be handled through the other party’s liability insurance. If you are at fault, your damage will be handled through your own policy’s collision coverage, subject to your deductible.
6. Consult With An Attorney
Contact an attorney for advice on how to proceed. If you are injured, consider hiring an attorney that handles personal injury cases to protect your rights regarding pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
Automobile accidents are frightening and upsetting. Knowing what to do will save you from problems down the road and help get you through what can be an emotional and challenging process.
Please contact Peter J. Gregory at 585.512.3506 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss how this may impact your case. Peter is an attorney in MCCM’s litigation group where he represents clients in a broad range of civil litigation matters including personal injury law, collections, and commercial and business litigation.
This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.
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