An accident can make you feel confused, but there are certain steps you should take to protect yourself immediately following an accident.
Things to Do After an Accident
What you should do:
- Call the Police. Don’t let concerns about how an accident claim may increase your insurance premiums or an erroneous belief that the accident may not be severe lead you to make a road side agreement with the other driver. It could be costly.
- File promptly and follow up. Call your insurance agent immediately after the accident (as soon as you talk to the police or as soon as you get home) and then call to check on your claim every two days.
- Investigate but don’t assign blame. Don’t say “it was my fault!” or “what were you doing?” to the other driver. Instead check on the injuries of anyone involved and write down everything you see.
- Take pictures. Use your phone’s camera to record the area, the cars, and the damage. Transfer the photos off the phone as soon as possible and give the information to your attorney.
- What factors contributed? What is the time of day did the accident occur? What were the lighting conditions? What was the weather like? Did it affect the road’s condition? Is the road cracked or damaged? Is it uneven? Does it have pot holes? Is there debris on the road? Is there sand or rocks on the road?
- Pay attention to what YOU say, what you remember, but don’t embellish. You may be very excited after the accident. Calm yourself and your passengers. Talk to the officer taking your report. Answer questions, but don’t ramble. And don’t be evasive. Honestly is a great tool, but if you are not sure, don’t guess. Just admit you need time to calm down before you are sure.
- Pay attention to what is said to the investigating officer. He’ll usually question each person out of earshot of each other, but listen anyway, what you hear may be important later. Write it down.
- Be polite to witnesses. Don’t be belligerent or rude.
- Write everything down. Don’t rely on memory.
- Pay attention to your body. Are You Injured? Some injuries cannot be seen, but may be serious.
- Have your car looked at by a professional. Some damage may also be hard to see.
- Call an experienced attorney. How many times has he helped with an accident claim?