Your Personal Checklist: What to do after a Car Accident
Check for injuries: If anyone is injured, immediately call 911and tell them you need immediate medical assistance. Call the Police: It is important to contact the police and inform them of the accident. Do not leave the scene of the accident before police arrive.Tip: Get the names and badge numbers of any police officers who respond to the scene. File A Report: Complete a report with the police on the scene. Obtain a copy of the report or ask for the report number.Tip: If anyone involved seems to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, tell that to the police when you call for help. Exchange Information: Your insurance company will need the full names, addresses and phone numbers of everyone involved, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and any witnesses. Get information about the other vehicles involved, such as license plate numbers, make and model.Tip: Be sure to find out the insurance status of all vehicles and persons involved. If any drivers were not the registered owners, get the registered owner’s name, address, and phone number(s). Take Pictures: Take as many photos as possible of the accident site, the vehicles and people involved, and anything else that might have bearing on how and why the accident occurred.Tip: Pictures taken as soon as possible will be the most valuable. Don’t forget to take pictures of the damage done to all vehicles, license plates, other vehicle’s insurance information and registration, and evidence such as street signs or lights, skid marks, etc. Contact a Lawyer: Contact a personal injury attorney before speaking with an insurance company. However, do not delay in contacting your insurance carrier once you have consulted with an attorney.Tip: Do not talk to your insurance company until after you talk to an attorney. NEVER talk to a representative of the other insurance company. Get Medical Help: If you have been seriously injured, you probably will be taken directly to a hospital emergency room. If you are not seriously injured, however, do not assume that you are uninjured. Many injuries from vehicle crashes, like whiplash, do not show up right away.Tip: Failure to get medical care might have serious consequences if you have latent injuries that only show up 24-36 hours later. Do not neglect symptoms that are unfamiliar, or pain that appears hours later.
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