In the moments following a car accident, many people panic, unsure of what actions they should take directly afterward. Of course, a car accident can be an extremely traumatic experience, disturbing even the most veteran of drivers.
But no matter the extent of the damage, nor whose negligence you believe may have led to the wreck, there are specific steps you should take to help ensure your own safety, the safety of the other driver and other factors that will benefit you in the future.
Assess Damage to Yourself
In some scenarios, an individual involved in a car wreck may emerge from the ordeal with no physical injuries. And naturally, in others, injuries, such as lacerations or broken bones, may be apparent and will require immediate medical attention.
Whether or not any injuries are visible, it is extremely important to take a moment to ensure your own physical well-being before making any further movements. Additionally, avoid any strenuous movements involving your back or neck. According to a fact sheet presented by the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, if you have sustained a whiplash injury, symptoms may not appear until six to 12 hours afterwards, and it is imperative that you do nothing to exacerbate the damage.
After you ensure that you haven’t sustained any serious injuries, the next step you should take is to gather information from the other driver or drivers, as well as provide them with similar information that they can use for insurance purposes.
It is important to ask for:
- phone numbers;
- e-mail addresses; and
- insurance company names, policy numbers and phone numbers for their insurance carriers.
If there were any witnesses of the car accident, it also can be beneficial to ask them for their names and contact information in case they are interviewed in the future. Also, take note of the exact location of the car accident, including the cross streets, where on the road it occurred and any other pertinent details. Taking pictures of the scene can help reinforce your memory.
If emergency service vehicles arrive on scene, ask for the name and badge number of the reporting officers and the police report number, as well as the ambulance company or fire department if necessary.
When speaking to emergency personnel such as police officers or medical technicians or even when gathering information from other drivers, it is imperative that you don’t admit fault or suggest that you caused the accident. This can solidify your guilt, whether or not you were truly responsible.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Carrier
Once you have all of the necessary information from the other parties, you should return home and report the accident to your insurance policy carrier.
You can report an accident to your insurance carrier by:
- calling the phone number provided to you on your policy card. This will allow you to speak to a representative and provide the information you have.
- entering information online through an interactive system. Many insurance carriers now solely use this type of reporting system, and what steps you will need to take will depend on from whom you receive coverage.
Speak with a Car Accident Attorney
Even if you believe that your insurance carrier will take care of the rest, it is still in your best interests to call a car accident attorney to protect your rights. Your insurance carrier may fail to provide you with adequate compensation or may claim incorrectly that you were at fault. In this scenario, it can be extremely advantageous to have an attorney on your side.
If you have been involved in a wreck, then contact Rob Levine & Associates immediately. We will listen to the details of your case and advise you on the appropriate course of action. Call us today at 800-529-1222.