If you are in an auto accident, then the most important thing is to stay calm and pay attention to your surroundings. Don’t put yourself in more danger. If you or someone else is hurt, then call 911. This auto accident Q&A covers some situations you may encounter after an auto accident collision:
Q: Do I need to call the police?
A: Yes, the police should be called. An official police accident record can help preserve some facts about the wreck.
Q: Even if I don’t feel pain, should I get an immediate checkup?
A: Yes, even relatively minor collisions can cause serious injuries. A wreck can pump adrenaline into your body, and you may not feel pain. Later, however, the injuries you suffered will become more apparent. It is not at all uncommon for pain and soreness to show up when you wake up the day after a crash. Go get checked out. You should have a licensed medical professional examine you. The professional might find an injury you’re not aware of because your body could still be in shock from the wreck.
Q: Should I collect or exchange contact information with others involved?
A: Yes, if it is safe to do so, collect information from the other driver(s), and eyewitnesses and passengers if applicable. They may be needed at a later date to help provide more information. Also, observe the scene of the wreck. Take photos or notes of the scene, location identifiers, license plate(s), vehicle registration(s), and property damage. You should also write a journal of what you recall from the wreck for your own records as soon as possible. Stick to the facts; write down what you have observed. If the other driver(s) tells you anything important then write it down.
Q: Should I notify my insurance company?
A: Yes, even if it is the other person’s fault, you should report that you were in a wreck to your insurance agent. Your insurance might be able to assist you or help you avoid out-of-pocket costs while your claims are being reviewed. You should consider consulting an attorney prior to making statements to the insurance company or signing any agreements with the insurance company.
Q: Should I contact an attorney?
A: Yes, especially if you’re unclear about what is happening with your claims. It is not easy to represent yourself. On your own, you may not have all the information you need to make well informed decisions. An initial consultation with a personal injury attorney is free. After the initial consultation, you will be able to decide whether or not to continue with the attorney.
Q: Should I give a statement to the other person’s insurance company?
A: No. Unless your attorney agrees, you should not give a statement to the other person’s insurance company. If you don’t have an attorney, you should consult an attorney before signing any document from the other person’s insurance company.
Q: How could making a statement, without first consulting your insurance agent or attorney, negatively impact the claims process?
A: In many wrecks, actions happen so fast, it may be unclear what all happened. Honesty is always the best policy, but even an honest person can be mistaken. Incorrect statements could change or reduce the potential responsibility of other parties involved in the wreck. You may not have witnessed an intervening actor or issue involved in the wreck. You may have perceived something differently than how it actually occurred. In larger wrecks, one is likely not aware of all the facts of the wreck. Your insurance agent and your attorney will collect information about the wreck from you and the other sources. Having the additional analysis could help better determine the potential accountability of parties. Especially in unclear situations, you should consult his/her attorney, or your insurance agent if you don’t have an attorney, before providing a statement to the other driver’s insurance company.
Q: What if the other person’s agent pressures me?
A: Tell the representative that all further contact needs to be directed to your insurance agent or attorney. Notify your insurance agent or attorney about the other person’s agent.
Q: Should I keep notes on my communications with agents or other representatives?
A: Yes, the claims process may be long and difficult. Keep a record of the insurance agents, and other representatives, you have contacted. Note the date, time, topic(s), and whatever else seems important.
PLEASE NOTE: The above ‘”Q&A” examples are not comprehensive and do not constitute legal advice. If you need legal advice then please consult an attorney.