A car accident is unexpected and can cause extreme stress. Once the dust settles and you know that you are physically safe, what should you do? Take a look at these four steps to take immediately following a crash to help preserve your rights.
- Call the Police
After you are able to get your senses about you, call the police. Even if you don’t feel like you have suffered severe damage or injury, having the police come out can do a lot for you when it comes to documenting the scene. If you live in a state where the insurance company can determine fault or a percentage of fault, you will want a police report with a determination to help your case. If the police choose not to come out deeming it not serious enough, go to the station after the accident to give an account in person.
- Document the Scene
Once you can safely remove yourself from the vehicle, do so and start taking pictures. If you can get the exact location of the crash scene immediately following it, that will help an adjuster immensely. Many times, drivers in accidents move their vehicles quickly out of the way so as not to impede traffic. If you are in a safe place, however, try to snap a few photos before moving your car. Take plenty of pictures of your damage and that to the other vehicle.
- Exchange Driver’s License and Insurance Cards
Approach the other driver in a cautious manner. As soon as you know they are safe and not injured, offer to exchange personal information. This includes your driver’s license and insurance cards. Take a picture of the front and back of everything the driver gives you. If you come upon someone who is unable to communicate due to injury, call an ambulance to the scene and have the police get the information. You may also encounter someone who is not cooperative. Get pictures of the VIN of the vehicle to help the insurance company find the driver.
- Get Witness Information
If anyone stops to help or states that they witnessed the accident, get their information. You will want them to speak to your insurance company, especially if both parties have differing accounts of the events. If you have a passenger in your vehicle, the insurance company won’t consider them a witness.
Accidents can be unnerving, and they can cause extreme emotional and financial distress. Following these steps can help you get the help you need from the insurance company. However, if you feel like your viewpoint isn’t being considered, contact a car accident attorney for help in getting you the resolution you deserve.