Nobody plans on getting into a car accident, and that means nobody really ever prepares for what to do when they are involved in one. Between the property damage you have sustained, injuries that may have occurred, and prospect of a long claims process that lies ahead, a car accident can be overwhelming. This leads some people to get angry, defensive, or even remorseful and causes them to make mistakes that can negatively impact their case. This means it’s best to prepare for your accident ahead of time and learn what to do when you are involved in one. Here are five steps you should follow to give your case the best possible start.
Make Sure Everyone is Okay
The first and most important step after any accident is to make sure everyone involved is okay and to get help for anyone who may be seriously injured. Check with everyone in your car and everyone in any other cars involved, and call 911 immediately if anyone needs medical attention.
Contact Emergency Services
If nobody is seriously injured, contact emergency services, including the police department and a tow truck, who can come out and sort through the accident. If any of the vehicles involved are no longer drivable, you will need a tow truck to get them to a repair shop. Furthermore, police will be able to control road traffic, defuse the tension that so often develops in these situations, and take statements from both parties in order to file a police report.
Exchange Insurance Information
You and the other drivers involved in the accident should make sure you exchange all information, including contact and insurance info since you will all need to open claims to get your vehicles fixed or replaced. Be sure you write down everything including names, phone numbers, email addresses, physical addresses, insurance policy numbers, insurance provider companies, and more.
Nearly every cell phone has a camera these days. A car accident scene is an excellent place to use it. Take pictures of everything, including the damage to your car, the other cars, traffic control devices that may be relevant to the accident (stop lights, stop signs, traffic flow indicators, etc.) Try to get them in a way that shows what a driver may (or may not) have seen in terms of the accident.
Never Admit Fault
In an effort to diffuse the tension and put your best foot forward like a police person should, you may be tempted to step out of your car and immediately apologize. This is extremely important: never apologize to the other party at the scene of the accident. Insurance companies will often try to spin apologies as an admission of fault and they’ll immediately refuse to compensate you and try to pin total fault on you, even if the other party completely and blatantly caused the accident. It’s okay to be friendly and accommodating, but choose your words carefully at the accident scene.
Get a Police Report
Remember the police report mentioned a few points back? You’ll want to get a copy of this as soon as possible. Most reports won’t be made available until several days after the accident, but the officer at the scene should be able to give you and any other parties involved a report number that you can then use to request the report at a later date. This report is going to be extremely important to your case, so make sure you get a copy as soon as one comes available. Your insurance company will most likely want a copy of this as well to put with your claim file.
If you have been involved in a car accident, it’s important to put a powerful and knowledgeable ally on your side who has your best interests at heart. The Daytona Beach car accident lawyers at Politis & Matovina, P.A. have built a strong reputation for powerful advocacy and a commitment to results. Our attorneys have recovered more than $200 million on behalf of our clients, making us one of the premiere choices to represent you and your injured loved ones after an accident.
Call Politis & Matovina, P.A. today at (386) 333-6613 to receive a free case evaluation and start reviewing your legal options.