So, you’ve been involved in an automobile accident. Regardless of who is at fault, there are several things should do immediately after the accident and in the weeks and months to follow. These following steps will help you next time you are in an automobile accident.
Stay at the Scene
First, never leave the scene of an accident until you have been given permission by the police. There are potential criminal charges that may be filed against you for hit-and-run if you do not follow the proper procedures.
Check on the Other People in the Vehicles
Make sure the passengers in your vehicle and the people in the other vehicle are okay. Any necessary medical attention should be addressed immediately.
Call the Police
It is important to report the accident to the authorities while everyone is still present. An officer will come, assess the situation, and may issue tickets to the drivers. Make sure to get a copy of the police report that is filed because your insurance company may need that information.
Exchange Insurance Information
Be sure to not only exchange information about insurance coverage, but also to get full names, addresses, phone numbers, as well as driver’s license numbers and license plate numbers. Your insurance company may need any and all of this information to follow up on the claim you will file.
Make sure that while you wait, you are not apologizing or admitting any fault. Things you say during this period may cause you to be liable for damage or injuries.
Talk to Witnesses
Ask people what they saw. Try to get the witnesses’ names, addresses, and phone numbers, if they will give them to you. This information could be helpful later on.
Call Your Insurance Company
File your claim and notify your insurance company of the accident promptly. Provide your insurance company all of the information you have collected, especially information regarding the other driver and the other vehicle, along with the police report.
Take Pictures of the Damage
You want to have documentation of all of the damage that occurred, in case you need to present that information to the court or to insurance adjusters. Having tangible proof is important to provide evidence supporting your claim for damages. So make sure to take as many pictures as you can of the vehicles.
Keep Copies of All Documentation from Your Doctor
Should you (or anyone else in your car) suffer any injuries, keep all documentation from your doctor and any specialists you see. Keep copies of test results and any information the doctor provides that describes your injuries or any reasons you are required to be out of work.
Get Estimates to Fix Your Vehicle
You will need to have documentation to provide to the insurance companies, sometimes more than one estimate, for the work that is going to be required to completely repair your vehicle.
Be Wary of Initial Offers from Insurance Companies
Keep in mind that insurance companies are trying to settle all claims for the lowest amount of money. If an offer seems too low, do not accept it. You are not required to sign any paperwork the insurance company presents to you.
Consult with an Attorney
If the insurance company offers you less than you deserve, take the opportunity to consult with a lawyer. Bring all the documentation you have kept, including photos, estimates, medical reports, and the names and contact information for the people involved and any potential witnesses. An attorney will review your case with you and offer you guidance as to how best to proceed.
Our attorneys at Young & Young have been practicing law in Utah for decades and have handled a multitude of personal injury cases. Contact us for a free consultation and an attorney will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Articles with this disclaimer may not represent the beliefs or core values of Young & Young. The following is simply a summary taken from the industry’s general community to help readers stay up-to-date on what people are talking about.