After engaging in an accident with one or more drivers, you may not know what to do. Between the adrenaline rush and the sight of the accident scene, its only natural for a person to question what their next steps should be. If you were recently involved in an auto accident, here are a few key steps you are going to want to take to ensure you do your part to prevent any injuries from worsening as well as get your accident claim paid.
- Pull over to a safe place and assess the damage. Given you are able to, it is recommended by the Insurance Information Institute (III) that you pull your vehicle off to the side of the road so that it is not obstructing traffic. After doing so, be sure to assess the damage that is done, including checking to see if you or anyone else suffered injuries.
- Contact the police or highway patrol. You will need to contact the police, or if the accident occurred on a highway or interstate, contact your state’s highway patrol. If anyone suffered any injuries, it is important to notify the law enforcement agency of this so that emergency medical personnel can be dispatched. In most cases, a police officer will be sent to the accident scene to write up a report. Be sure when he/she arrives you write down their name and badge number and find out where you can obtain a copy of the report.
Tip: If a police officer is not dispatched to the accident scene, which sometimes happens when the crash is less serious in nature, then you will need to take it upon yourself to visit the local police department and file a report yourself. It is very important for you to have record of the accident as the other driver could come back and sue you and/or your insurance carrier might request it after you initiate a claim.
- Collect all pertinent information. This includes, the name of the driver, the name of the owner of the vehicle if it belongs to someone other than the operator, the name of insurance carrier and policy number, the make and model of any vehicles involved, and the date, time, and location of where the accident happened. If the accident involved a commercial truck or government vehicle, write down the name and contact information of the agency the driver is employed with.
- Take photos of the accident scene. It is always recommended that you take pictures of the accident scene from all angles so that you have these for your insurer and/or if you need to file suit in the near future.
- File a claim with your insurer. The quicker you report the accident, the quicker the insurer can start the claims process and get you paid. While some policies cover property damage, rental costs, etc., others will pay for the medical care you will need to have rendered. Now, if you filed a claim with the other driver’s insurer, the company will need to determine who was at fault. The adjuster will use the police report, your statement, the statement provided by the insured, etc. to make this determination. If the insurer finds you were at fault, it may deny your claim. In this case, you may need to file a claim through your own carrier.
Do I need to hire an accident attorney after a car accident?
If the insurer is delaying paying your claim, has denied it, or has offered you an insufficient amount, before you do anything else, it would be wise of you to contact an accident lawyer in your city. USAttorneys.com helps accident victims like yourself get in touch with top accident attorneys in their area who can provide legal advice and guidance that is sure to get them the maximum amount of compensation they are due. To find a lawyer in your city now, contact USAttorneys.com.