So, you've been in an accident, and you're wondering, "What do I do now?" Well, for most, an auto accident may be a once in a lifetime event. The shock of the accident, coupled with the uncertainty surrounding potential injuries, property damage, etc., can be a tad overwhelming.
A good starting point is for every motorist to have their driver's license, registration and insurance card with you in your vehicle at all times. You may opt to place this information in a handy pouch or folder within easy reach.
What to Do At the Accident Scene
- Stay at the scene. Take a deep breath and try not to panic.
- Check yourself, other drivers, and passengers for injuries. Call the ambulance if anyone is in need of medical attention.
- Call the police if there are injuries, death, or serious property damage. Even if no one is injured, it's a good idea to call the police, so they can document the accident. You can file an accident report later, but it is good to do it immediately to record accurate information.
- Move the vehicles out of traffic on the side of the road if the accident is minor.
- Turn on your vehicle's hazard lights.
- Take photos of the damage and surrounding area, if possible.
- Gather information by taking notes on the details of the accident scene to preserve as much evidence as you can.
- Gather information on other drivers who may be responsible for the accident. Get his or her name, address, contact number, insurance company name and policy number. You should provide the same information to the other driver only - do not give personal information to other drivers, passengers, or witnesses.
- Talk to witnesses and get their information.
- Do not sign any papers (unless it's for the police).
- Do not admit fault or discuss the incident.
- Do not allow your license or registration to be photographed by others.
- Do not leave the accident scene until the police and other drivers do.
Things to Do After Leaving the Accident Scene
After you leave the accident scene, there are additional steps you should immediately take to protect your rights and recover any damages you've suffered.
- Contact your insurance company and tell them what happened as soon as possible.
- Get a copy of the accident report.
- Keep detailed notes on your injuries and physical and mental conditions.
- Track your medical treatment.
- Get a property damage valuation.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer to protect your rights. Before you provide any statements to the other driver or his or her insurance company, you should seek legal advice to receive full compensation for the damages you suffered.
Handling a personal injury case on your own can be quite difficult to navigate. Taking the first offer from the insurance company may not be in your best interest. Talking to a knowledgeable attorney may be your best course of action. Scheduling a consultation with our office is always free of charge. So, if you've been in an accident in Alabama and want a no-cost review of your case, call me, Joshua C. Snable, today at (205) 939-0780. I want to help!
*No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other attorneys.