Accidents can be life-changing in a moment. Often after an accident, your body goes into shock and you may not know what to do. Having handled countless personal injury claims, we’d like to offer this form for important information to gather after you’ve been in an accident.
Treat Your Injuries
The physical wellbeing of you and anyone else involved in the crash should be your primary concern. If there is any chance of injury, call 911 immediately. It is better to have a thorough exam at the scene or in the emergency room than to later discover severe injury. Injuries like whiplash rarely hurt right away, but if you refused treatment at the scene and later notice symptoms, the insurance company may have a reason to deny your claim.
Move to a Safe Place
“Rubbernecking” is a very real risk when you’ve been in an accident on a busy road. It is fairly common for people who have been in an accident to get hit by other cars following the accident. When possible, always try to move to a safe place following a collision.
Exchange Contact Information
Due to the confusion following a car crash, an accurate chain of events may not seem clear or who may have been at fault. That’s why it’s important to get contact information from everyone involved including witnesses. As the crash is investigated, or your personaly injury case progresses, conflicting stories may emerge and it will be important that you keep accurate records of the initial details of the accident.
Gather the information below following any collision or car accident from those involved directly in the crash:
- Telephone number
- Email address
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
- Insurance company name, telephone number, and policy number
- VIN (this will arm you or your accident attorney with the capability to review Carfax® and ensure damage claimed had occurred prior to the accident.
From passengers or witnesses, you’ll want to gather:
- Telephone number
- Email address
Report the Accident
Call 911 immediately following any crash. Soon thereafter, get in contact with your insurance company. Although you may be tempted to postpone contact with your insurance company, quick reporting on an accident may help preserve your ability to make claims for injuries or property damage.
Stick to the Facts
Fault is rarely obvious following an accident. Many times, you may feel obligated to take blame in an effort to be transparently honest. Unfortunately, although honesty is commendable, it may interfere with the facts of the case and an action taken on the part of others involved in the accident that were the greater cause of the collision. The takeaway is to simply state facts, without projection of guilt or supposition of what you think may have occurred. Accidents happen fast — stick to the series of events as you remember them and allow the authorities to determine the cause.
Take Pictures and Gather Documents
In order to get compensation for damage or injury in an auto accident, you will likely have to prove that an accident was the primary cause. Because of this, it is critical that you accurately document everything.
- Take pictures: Most people nowadays have a cell phone with a camera. Start taking pictures as soon as you’re able. Take pictures of the accident scene and any conditions that might have contributed to the accident. Take pictures of the damage to your car or other property. Take pictures of your injuries. Take pictures that show how your injuries affect your life.
- Keep copies of bills and repair estimates: Start a file where you can collect medical bills, auto repair bills, payment receipts, rental car receipts, insurance policies, letters from insurance companies, or any other document that shows what happened to you.
- Get your accident report: You should be able to obtain a copy of your accident report from the law enforcement agency that took the report. The report should include the police officer’s narrative about what happened, and may include drawings, photos, or witness interviews that will be helpful to your claim.
Talk to a Lawyer
When you’ve been injured in an accident, talking to an experienced personal injury lawyer early on is the best way to preserve your rights and possible claims. A lawyer can explain the process of personal injury law and the possible outcomes given the facts of your case so that you can make informed decisions to help you and your family. A personal injury attorney can help with every step of the process: investigating the accident, documenting your claim, negotiating with insurance companies, appealing rejected claims, filing a lawsuit, and trying your case. There’s no need to go it alone. Feel free to call us today for a free, confidential legal consultation at (928) 263-2026.