One of the most frequent questions I receive is “What do I do after an automobile accident?” Here are a few guidelines:
1. The obvious first thing to do is to make sure everyone is OK, and pull over to a safe area.
2. Exchange information with the other driver. No matter who is at fault, obtain the driver’s license, insurance information, address, phone number, car license number, and registration information. Find out if the driver is the owner of the car.
3. Call the Police to report the accident. Unless the accident is major or involves injuries, the Police will typically advise you to file an accident report within twenty four hours.
4. Take photos of the accident scene, your car, the other car or cars.
5. Start a notebook regarding the accident. The first entry in the notebook should be all facts that you can list about the accident. Include the time, date, what happened, what was said after the accident, the names and contact information of witnesses,and anything else you can think of. Write out the make, model, year and color of the other car.
6. Never tell the other driver the accident was your fault, even if you think it might have been.
7. Notify your Insurance Company. Even if you think the accident is not your fault, you should notify your carrier as soon as possible. Insurance policies typically require you to notify them immediately following an accident. The other driver may claim the accident is your fault, so it is important to put your carrier on notice. This is why you have insurance! Don’t neglect to notify the insurance carrier.
8 If you have any type of pain after an accident, seek medical attention immediately. Even if you do not go to the Emergency room or Urgent Care, set up an appointment to see your primary care physician as soon as possible.
Auto accidents are a fact of life. There will be consequences that follow an auto accident, who ever is at fault. The steps you take immediately following the accident, and in the following days, will make a large impact on how those consequences get resolved.