Unfortunately, most people find themselves in a car accident at some point in their lives. We’ve developed the following tips after serving many car wreck victims over the years. Follow them to make sure your accident claim goes as smoothly as possible.
1. Safety First.
Before being concerned about anything else, first make you are okay. If so, make sure the others parties involved okay. If not, call 911.
2. Call the Police.
Never let anyone on the scene convince you the police aren’t necessary. Make sure to get the police report number and the name of the reporting officer. If your accident is minor, and the police don’t respond, file an accident report at the local police station as soon as possible.
3. Gather Information from Witnesses.
This is the number one mistake made by many of our clients. It is vital to make sure all information from relevant witnesses is obtained. These may end up being a key to a successful case (see our previous blog, Avoiding Mistakes: Obtaining Witnesses After a Car Accident).
4. Exchange Information with Others Involved.
Get the information of all drivers. This includes a person’s name, number, address, insurance company, policy number, driver’s license number and plate number. Also make sure to write down a description of the vehicle.
5. Do Not Give Recorded Statements.
Be careful not to say anything on record without the presence of an attorney. Even apologizing can be seen as admitting fault.
6. Take Photographs.
Take photographs of the damage to each vehicle and the scene of the accident. Try to include each vehicle’s license plate number in the photos.
7. Take Notes.
The more thorough you are concerning the details of the accident, the faster the process with your insurance company is likely to be.
8. Make a Personal Record.
As soon as possible, put all the information you received at the scene of the accident into a comprehensive, written record. Record everything you remember (weather, road conditions, how the accident happened, etc.). This will help you file a claim with your insurance company and will also be helpful to an attorney.
9. File a claim.
Call your insurance company as soon as possible and open a new claim. Know what your insurance policy covers ahead of time.
10. Protect your Legal Rights.
Contact an attorney immediately, especially with accidents involving injuries. An experienced attorney can help you with the process while protecting your rights.