The first thing to do is report the accident to law enforcement. Even if there is minor damage and you feel okay, you are in the heat of the moment and might not notice the extent of the damage. Also, it might take a little bit of time to start feeling your injuries. You should always report the accident to the police. If you don’t report it, the other driver could claim it didn’t happen as it in fact did, and they could say you were at fault when you were not. Also, the police officer on the scene will ensure each driver provides the proper ID and insurance information for use later if needed.
After you report the accident, you need to stay at the scene and wait for law enforcement to arrive. If your vehicle is in the street and is movable, move it to the side of the street. Next, you should start gathering information from other drivers and witnesses. Make sure to exchange contact information with everyone on site and collect insurance policy information from those involved in the crash. Take photos of your injuries, your vehicle, the other parties’ vehicles, and the scene of the crash itself.
Lastly, seek medical attention if you have suffered an injury, even if it’s minor. Your own personal automobile insurance will provide up to $10,000 for your medical expenses and lost wages due to your injuries. However, if you do not seek medical or chiropractic treatment for your injuries within two weeks, your available automobile insurance could be drastically limited. Therefore, we generally recommend that clients go to the hospital for a check-up if they have any injuries at all.
You also need to notify your insurance company promptly after the accident. They will provide a packet of information for you to fill out and you should do so. Your insurance company may also wish to take a recorded statement from you describing the accident and your injuries. You should comply with that request.
However, be very careful if you speak with the at-fault driver’s insurance company about anything beyond the damage to your car. We recommend our clients not speak with the other driver’s insurance carrier about their injuries, as frankly, the only reason they want to speak with you is to get you to agree to let them close their files as soon as possible. If contacted by the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster, and they want to talk about your injuries, you should simply advise that you were hurt, that you are seeking medical treatment and that you will retain Thompson Crawford & Smiley as your personal injury attorneys.
Once you have safely arrived home, you should call Thompson, Crawford & Smiley for further assistance. Call us at 850-386-5777 for your free initial consultation today!