Being involved in a car accident can be one of the most stressful times of your life. You are hurt, your car is damaged and you are unsure of what your next step should be. Questions flood your mind. You begin wondering who will pay your medical bills or what kind of papers you should sign. The following tips will help you after having a car accident. Once you read over the list, you can print it out and keep a copy in your car.
Step 1 – Call 911
In the immediate aftermath of an automobile accident, the most important step is to call 911. This will ensure that help is on the way, including an ambulance to treat a number of serious injuries that may have been sustained as a result of the crash. If you are not injured, check on other parties involved and inform them that help is on the way.
Step 2 – File a Police Report
No matter how minor the accident may be, you always need to file an official police report. This is for your own protection and insurance purposes. Remember to discuss the accident only with police officials on the scene.
Step 3 – Preserve Evidence at the Scene
If it is possible, take photographs and video of the accident scene using your cell phone. Document any injuries or damage your car sustained as a result of the crash.
Step 4 – Gather Insurance Information
You need to gather the necessary insurance-related information from the other driver involved in the accident. Be sure to write down the following:
- Date of birth
- Phone number
- Driver’s license information
- Insurance provider information
- The make, model, year, license plate number and vehicle identification number (VIN) of the other car
- If the driver does not own the car involved in the accident, write down the name, address, phone number and insurance information of the car’s registered owner
- The names, addresses and phone numbers of any passengers that were in the other vehicle
Step 5 – Identify Witnesses
Learn the names of any potential witnesses on the scene and write down their phone numbers before they leave.
Step 6 – Call Your Insurance Provider
Call your insurance company and inform them that you have been involved in an automobile accident. If they ask you to give an immediate recorded statement detailing the accident, decline their request.
Step 7 – Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
As a victim of an automobile accident, it is in your best interest to consult with a trusted and experienced personal injury lawyer. Be aware that insurance companies have a staff of trained attorneys working for them. In order to fully understand your rights and increase your chances of receiving the proper amount of compensation, you need someone on your side.
Hiring an experienced car accident lawyer can help you:
- Receive the maximum amount of compensation
- Schedule a rental car or other form of transportation while your damaged vehicle is being repaired
- Avoid arguing with the insurance company or the at-fault party
- Focus on what is important, such as making a full recovery from your injuries, instead of worrying about paying outrageous medical bills
If you have been hurt in a serious car accident or want to learn more about liability for automobile accident injuries in California, contact the law offices of Nelson C. Barry at 415-587-0550.