What do you do when you are in an accident? That is a good question. And the answer is surprisingly more complex than you think. This post is in conjunction with my podcast, which you can download and listen to at www.personalinjurypodcast.com.
- Before you are involved in an accident, you should have an envelope in your car marked “Accident information.” In it, keep a pen and paper, your insurance card, and a disposable camera.
- When you are in an accident, move your car to the side of the road if it is safe to do so. If anyone is injured, bleeding or complaining of back or head pain, or has been ejected from the vehicle, do not move your car.
- Write down all of your information, including name, address, phone number, insurance company’s name, policy number, make, model, and license plate on a piece of paper. Give it to the other party.
- Ask the other party to write down all of their information for you. If they refuse, immediately take a picture of the car, license plate and driver.
- Take pictures of the road, the general area, the damage to your car, the damage to the other car, and the license plate, front and back, of the other car.
- Call the police if necessary. In some areas, the police will not respond. That is okay.
- Go home and rest, or if you need medical help, go to the doctor.
- The next day, call your insurance company. Report the accident to them.
- Take your car for an estimate. Ask friends, family, coworkers for a recommendation. If you cannot get one, call the dealership and ask them for a recommendation.
- DO NOT GIVE ANY INSURANCE COMPANY A RECORDED STATEMENT. They do not need it, are not entitled to it, and cannot deny your claim for failing to give one. Even if it is your own insurance company, do not give a recorded statement.
- Write down what happened in the accident. Keep this paper.
- Seek medical treatment, if you need it.
- Consult with an attorney to learn your rights.
Being in an accident can be a scary feeling. Having a list of what to do can help you keep your thoughts organized.