If you have recently been involved in an accident, you may be wondering what steps you should take to move forward and protect your rights. Being knowledgeable regarding what to do – and what not to do – at an accident scene can help you maneuver this tricky, stressful situation. Consider keeping the following list of 12 accident tips in your vehicle so you can consult it in the event of an accident.
1. Do Not Leave the Scene
Leaving the scene of an accident prior to being released can result in serious consequences.
2. Check on Everyone Involved
Prior to determining any vehicular damage, ensure that any parties involved are not seriously injured. If needed, obtain medical care for any victims. If a victim is suffering from pain in their neck or back or knocked out, do not attempt to move them.
3. Call Law Enforcement
While the police do not need to be involved for minor accidents, vehicular damage, injuries, or death require police assistance. If officers are involved, request a copy of their report.
4. Swap Contact Info
It is crucial to exchange necessary contact info with any parties involved. Collect the following information:
- Phone number
- Standard insurance info
- License plate information
5. Talk to Anyone That Witnessed the Accident
If you notice witnesses at the scene, ask them for their account of what happened. If they are willing, ask for their contact information.
6. Notify Your Insurance Provider
After being involved in an accident, notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Be truthful about the details of the accident and provide information regarding any of your injuries. Lying to your insurance provider can result in a denial of coverage.
7. Keep Records of Your Medical Treatment
Keep a detailed record of any medical care you receive as a result of accident-related injuries. Additionally, ask for copies of all medical reports and bills. It may also help to keep a journal of how your injuries have affected the quality of your life.
8. Take Photos to Document the Scene
Immediately following the accident, take pictures of areas of damage on your vehicle. Taking photographs will assist your insurance provider in determining the correct amount of compensation and help your case if it is brought to court.
9. Request an Estimate on Your Vehicle Damage
Ask your insurance provider to issue you a copy of their damage valuation policies. If you feel your vehicle is worth more than their estimate, there are a couple options for handling the situation:
- Obtain two separate quotes on repair costs
- Inform your insurance provider of your concerns
If you are unable to reach an agreement on the value of your vehicle, consider consulting an attorney.
10. Avoid Discussing the Accident
Aside from your attorney, your insurance provider, and law enforcement, avoid discussing the accident with anyone. If another insurance company contacts you, kindly ask them to discuss the matter with your attorney or current coverage provider.
11. Be Hesitant of Early Settlement Offers
If you are offered an early settlement through another insurance company, be careful. Do not agree to settle a claim before all of your injuries have been addressed.
12. Consider Contacting an Attorney
If the accident resulted in injuries, it is recommended to meet with an experienced accident attorney. Often, accident attorneys will agree to work for free unless you receive compensation.