What To Do If You Get In A Car Accident
Getting in a car accident is a shocking event. In the surprise and pain of the moment, sometimes important things can be overlooked. Each year, millions of people are injured and unfortunately thousands die in motor vehicle accidents. Here are some key things to do right away to help yourself and your passengers recover physically, mentally and financially. Print this list and keep it in your car (or take a picture of it) to help you in the case of an unexpected crash.
1. Call 911
After a car accident, immediately call the police. They are trained to investigate car crashes and will provide a report for your insurance agent so fault can be objectively determined. Give the police officers your contact information so it can be included in the police report.
2. Seek Medical Attention
Even if you do not immediately think you have been injured, you should go to a doctor to be evaluated for potential injuries. It is very common for people involved in a car crash not to experience pain from their injuries until hours or even days after the accident happens.
3. Take Detailed Notes and Photos
If you are able, take photographs of the crash scene and take notes of what occurred to help you remember the details of the accident. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle and any other vehicle involved in the incident. If you are too injured to do this, try to ask another person to do this for you. It can also help to take photos of the surrounding scene. The police won’t always take photographs, so any photographs you take can help your case. Also, look to see if there appear to be any traffic cameras at the crash scene or any businesses nearby that have security cameras that may have caught the accident on tape. Recorded video footage of an accident is the best possible evidence.
4. Collect Contact Information and Insurance Information From All Parties Involved
This information will be included in the accident report that the police prepare, but that report is usually not available for several days or weeks. Collecting this information yourself will help you get the insurance process started. If you don’t have a pen and paper, you can take a picture of the other driver(s)’ license and proof of insurance.
5. Collect Names and Contact Information of Witnesses
Witnesses are valuable to your case. Get their names and contact information even if you see them speaking to the police. Let them know you appreciate their cooperation.
6. Document your Injuries
Take photos of any visible injuries at the time of the accident and continue to take photos to document those injuries throughout your healing process.
7. Keep Receipts for Accident-Related Medications or Healthcare Expenses
If you go to the emergency room, hospital or doctor, keep all receipts for any expenses including any therapy, prescriptions and over-the-counter medicine. This information will support your claim.
8. Keep Track of All Out-of-Pocket Expenses for Medical Appointments
Any expenses resulting from the crash should be documented. Keep good records of your doctor’s visits and treatment. Your medical expenses will include time spent driving to and from doctor appointments as well as parking.
9. Create a File for Paperwork That You Receive From Your Doctor
If you are injured, you will receive instructions and information from your doctor. Keep this information so you can share it with your attorney. As you receive reports from your doctor, keep this information available for your attorney to review.
10. Keep Records of Proof of Financial Losses
If you have a significant injury, it is likely that you have had to miss time from your job or other obligations. Keep a record of the time you have spent dealing with this event and what it has cost you financially.
11. Keep a Journal
Keep notes that include how you are feeling as well as any missed days of work or school and all appointments for treatment. You should also include any costs for someone to help around your home for tasks that your injuries are preventing you from completing.
12. Call Baker, Burton & Lundy at 310-376-9893
An experienced personal injury lawyer can advise you of your rights and will help you determine if you need to file a lawsuit. They can also help you with the process of filing with the insurance companies. We have helped clients recover large verdicts and settlements so they get the resources they need after an accident. Calling as soon as you can after an accident is important. You can also reach us at [email protected]
Please Note: This document does not constitute legal advice. Please consult an attorney for legal advice on what to do in a particular situation.