AT THE SCENE:
1. Make sure everyone is OK. If anyone is hurt, call an ambulance.
Why: Safety is of utmost importance when dealing with a traumatic event. Address injuries first.
2. Decide if law enforcement should be contacted. If anyone is injured, call 911. If there is significant damage -the type that insurance companies may battle over, call police. When making statements about the facts, discuss those solely [the facts], do not offer your opinion (especially if you think you are at fault). Why: You want to ensure that the event is well documented to avoid obstacles during future claims or court interactions.
3. Take photos of everything! No matter the gravity of the accident, take photos of the persons involved, the scene, documentation (IDs, insurance), damages, etc. Why: Photos are more accurate than someone’s memory. Document the incident and use as needed for future claims and court interactions.
4. Exchange information. No matter what happens, insurance companies need the other party’s information. Why: Clear documentation is vital. Further, not delivering your information and leaving the scene can warrant a hit and run violation.
5. Go to the hospital, if you feel pain after the accident. Be vigilant over your own health and of those involved (especially children). It is very common to notice injuries after leaving the scene due to the overbearing adrenaline rush and aftershock that may occur once matters calm. Why: Injuries worsen when untreated, and delay in treatment can be damaging to potential claims and court interactions.
6. Get a copy of the police report. Review the reports and its statements to ensure accuracy. If there is any mistake or missing information, ask for a supplemental report that corrects or adds information. Why: It is common for information to be left out or lost in translation, the faster you deal with it, the better it will be for future claims or court interactions.
7. TALK TO A LAWYER. Lawyers deal with all types of cases with a variety of factors. Talking to a personal injury lawyer is the sure way to know if you should move forward with any other action, whether it is to protect yourself or to obtain reimbursement for damages (injuries or property). Why: Lawyers know your rights and what you are entitled to –plus, it’s a FREE CONSULTATION, if you call us (209) 567-1040.