The holiday season is fast approaching. This wonderful time of year brings much joy and excitement to many families. However, it also brings heavy traffic to our roadways and increases our chances of an automobile accident. Here are 10 tips to follow if you are involved in a car accident:
- Safety first. Make sure no one is injured. Call 911 to report any injuries. If it is a minor accident with no injuries, move the vehicles to the side of the road. If there are serious injuries or major damage, do not move the vehicles, even if you can, until the police arrive. If there is a question of liability (who caused the accident), leave the vehicles in place to help the police determine what happened.
- Call the police. Don’t ever allow anyone at the scene to convince you otherwise. Get the police report number and name of the reporting officer
- Exchange information. Get each driver’s name, phone number, address, insurance company, policy number, driver’s license number and license plate number. Write down the description of the vehicle, including the year, make, model, color and visible damage.
- Locate witnesses. Get the name and contact information (telephone number and address) of anyone who saw the accident. Do this as quickly as possible, while people are stopped to see what happened. Ask them to stay to give a statement to the police officer. If they are in a rush, make sure to get their contact information.
- Take photographs. Take photographs of the damage to each vehicle. Try to include each vehicle’s license plate number in the photos. If possible, try to get photographs of the other drivers. It may also be helpful to your insurance company, attorneys, and others if you take pictures of the surrounding area, such as the streets and their layouts.
- Don’t discuss fault. Do not ever admit fault, to any driver or the police. Explain what happened to the officer. Let the officer, insurance companies, and attorneys determine who caused the accident.
- Make a personal record. As soon as possible, put all the information you received at the scene of the accident into a comprehensive, written record. Write down everything you remember, from the weather, road conditions, how the accident happened, and a diagram. This will help you file a claim with your insurance company. It will also be helpful to your attorney.
- File a claim. Call your insurance company as soon as possible and open a new claim. Know what your insurance policy covers ahead of time. This prevents worrying about things such as towing at the scene of the accident.
- Don’t post details on social media. Do not post any details of the accident on social media. Insurance companies may review your postings on social media outlets in an attempt to gather information to call your injuries into question.
- Protect your legal rights. Contact an attorney immediately, especially with accidents involving injuries. The insurance companies will be determining liability, so they will be contacting you for recorded statements, your authorization to receive medical information from your doctors, and so on. You may also be concerned with how you are going to pay for medical treatment, and what to do with your damaged vehicle and work you have missed. An experienced attorney can help you with this process while protecting your rights. Always remember that all insurance companies have their own attorneys, looking out for their interests. It’s important that you have an advocate on your side.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, do not hesitate to contact your hometown law office of Townes & Woods, P.C. at 631-4019 for a free and confidential consultation.