The few hours immediately after a auto accident can be critical to documenting your property damage, your medical condition, and our ability to be compensated for your losses. The insurance companies know that getting information immediately is essential to establishing their basis to reduce your claim. A little preparation on your part can go a long way to making sure you are fairly compensated for your loss, your personal injuries.
There are some things you can do immediately after an auto accident that will insure your loss is fully compensated. Below are things to do immediately after the crash:
First, call the police. You can always use 911, or the police directly (i.e. Tampa Police Department) but it is important to have the police document the scene, get information from the drivers, document insurance information, and control the scene for safety of yourself and others.
If you need medical attention GET IT! There is nothing more important than your health and well being. If you feel severe pain, you are bleeding, or have trouble breathing, get medical attention immediately. You should never worry about your car when your health is at issue.
Next, if your injuries do not require immediate medical attention, take pictures of the cars at the actual scene of the auto accident. Almost every cell phone has a camera. If you do not have a camera available, use the mobile phone camera. While the pictures may not be great quality, some bad pictures are better than nothing. Make sure to take pictures of BOTH vehicles; yours and the other vehicles involved in the auto accident. It’s best to take a lot of pictures and you can discard the ones you don’t like.
I always suggest avoiding having discussions with the other driver other than checking to see if they are OK and require medical attention. Many times, people in auto accidents are emotional and things can escalate and actually result in violence. Once you verify that the other driver is OK it’s always best to remove yourself from the other driver until the police arrive.
Also, make sure you cooperate with the police and get whatever information you need to follow up. The police will give you a report number or a driver exchange sheet with information that will be valuable in getting claims established with the insurance companies. You should never leave the crash scene without the police officer providing a document with information concerning the crash.
If your car is towed make sure you get the tow truck company and where they are taking your vehicle. The chances are that you will need to get some personal belongings from the vehicle and you want to know where the car will be so you can get them.
Finally, I strongly suggest you contact my office as quickly as possible so that we can begin to gather information and document matters with the insurance company to ensure your vehicle is fixed timely, try to get you in a rental car, and make sure that the insurance company acts in your interest and not in a manner to protect their interest. Regardless, it is critical at this point to protect your claim and there is no better way to do that then to find an attorney who is experienced in auto crash cases. Taking the proper steps immediately after a car crash can be a great benefit toward making sure that you are fully compensated for your losses and injuries.