Being a car accident attorney for 25 years, I’ve seen my fair share of accidents. If you’ve never been in a car accident before, you probably know how lucky you are. Car accidents can be traumatic and cause serious injuries. If you have been in an accident, you know what I’m talking about. An ordinary day can quickly turn into a mess of confusion, fear and stress. In between all of that confusion, it can be hard to think clearly about what to do next.
Unfortunately, the aftermath of an accident can be just as frustrating and stressful as the initial collision!
Follow my 5 Steps to Take After an Accident in order to protect yourself and make sure that you are compensated for any medical bills or car repair costs you’ve incurred after an accident.
You should do these steps every time you are involved in an accident, even if it is a minor accident. If a minor accident evolves into a serious case, you might be in trouble if an initial investigation was not performed.
Without further ado, here are the 5 steps:
1. Call the police
Regardless of how minor the accident, you should always call 911 and request a police officer. Be as honest and detailed as you can when speaking with the officer. This is a crucial starting point in documenting information about your accident. The officer will write a report and may even issue a ticket to an at-fault person. The report will include details about the scene, the drivers, the insurance companies involved, the types of vehicles and witnesses.
2. Get the police officers contact information
You should get the contact information of the officer who files the report too. This will be useful in case you need to contact the officer later. Even though the officer’s name will be on the report, it can sometimes be a challenge to read the handwriting.
3. Take pictures
Take photos of the scene as soon after the accident as possible. The sooner, the better, as these photos will ensure that no changes have been made to the area. Officers do not usually take photos unless there is a fatality or one is anticipated. You should also survey the surrounding area and determine if a nearby building has a surveillance camera that may have captured the accident.
Assess and take photos of the surrounding area too. Construction activity on a roadway may have been a factor in an accident so pictures of that particular scene could be important.
4. Get witnesses
Get the information of any nearby witnesses and keep that information updated. Some people change addresses or phone numbers frequently and injury cases can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to settle or go to trial.
5. Repairing Your Vehicle
When it comes time to have your car repaired, be very careful when choosing a repair shop. If your car was damaged due to someone else’s negligence and you ask that person’s insurance company to take care of the repairs, they may try to direct you to their “preferred shop” in an effort to save money. These preferred shops may use substandard parts on your car as their overall objective is to keep the final cost of repairs as low as possible.
If an insurance company pressures or steers you to a certain shop, be wary.
Thanks for reading.