The things you do immediately following an accident can have lasting repercussions. If you are not at fault for the wreck, your actions could affect whether insurance pays your claims or whether you can pursue a case against the responsible party. If you are at fault, your actions could make things even worse.
We work with clients who have been involved in car accidents every day, and we see how unsuspecting people can damage their claims by taking the wrong actions. Make sure that you don't jeopardize your case by taking the wrong steps. Based on our experience, here are 10 things you should do when you have been in a car accident:
Don't Leave the Scene
Leaving the scene of an accident can result in serious criminal charges that may carry fines and even jail time. No matter what consequences you think you might face, they are almost guaranteed to be worse if you leave the scene of the accident.
Secure the Scene
Make sure the scene of the accident does not pose any more dangers to you or other drivers. Remove vehicles from the roadway, clear debris, and move away from any potential hazards, such as fire that may have been sparked from the collision.
Even in a minor fender bender, you should call 911 immediately to report the accident and request police and medical assistance. Passengers can suffer serious medical injuries from minor accidents - even if the injuries are not immediately obvious. Law enforcement can also help provide a record of the crash, documenting all the relevant details to assist with an insurance claim or a potential lawsuit.
Get the Other Driver's Information
While you are waiting for police to arrive, go ahead and get the other driver's information if you are able to do so and are not seriously injured. Be sure to get the driver's name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, and vehicle details.
If you are not seriously injured, document details of the scene of the accident by taking pictures and jotting down notes about what happened. Take pictures of all the vehicles involved in the crash, drivers and passengers involved in the crash, and other elements of the scene, such as smashed guard rails, tire tracks, and broken glass. Any pictures or notes you take can assist in the handling of a potential claim.
Get Medical Treatment
Once medical help arrives, be sure to get the treatment you need. This may be as simple as some first aid or just a brief examination. Not all injuries may be immediately obvious - such as a concussion or internal bleeding - so prompt medical attention is important to ensure the treatment of serious injuries.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Be sure to contact your insurance company as soon as possible, either at the scene or once you get home. You will need to provide details about the incident and whatever documentation you have.
Talk to an Attorney
Call an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss the details of your case and to find out what your rights are. One of the North Carolina personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin may be able to help you fight to get the compensation you may deserve for your injuries.
Don't Talk to the Opposing Insurance Company
You are not obligated to discuss the details of the accident with the other driver's insurance company. Representatives can talk with your attorney, or they can deal with your insurance company directly.
Be sure to maintain records of your accident, including your police report, photos or notes you took, conversations you had with the insurance company, medical treatment, repair estimates, and any other relevant information.
If you have been involved in an accident, the actions you take can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. The guidance of a qualified personal injury lawyer can help you take the right steps to try to get the best outcome for your case. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 to get a free evaluation of your case and to find out if one of our North Carolina personal injury lawyers may be able to help you!