You’ve Been in an Accident. Now What?
Being involved in an accident is stressful. It’s natural to wonder what steps you should take in the aftermath of such an event. However, first things first – try to remain calm and focused.
The Ohio car accident attorneys of Elk & Elk have compiled a list of things to do at and after an accident.
What to do if you’re involved in an accident
At the Accident
- Stay at the scene. If you leave the scene of an accident, especially if someone has been hurt or killed, you could face serious criminal charges as a hit-and-run driver.
- Call the police. This is very important if the accident involves significant property damage or someone is hurt or killed. Be sure to obtain the name and badge numbers of any officers who respond to the scene and ask that a police report be filed.
- Check on everyone involved in the accident. Before you start checking out how much damage was done to your vehicle, make sure everyone else in the accident is okay. It is best not to move anyone who is unconscious or complains of neck or back pain. If you feel that it is necessary to move someone try to move them as slowly as possible while supporting their neck and back.
- Exchange information. Get the names, phone numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers and basic insurance information of every other driver involved in the accident. Do not apologize for anything or admit wrongdoing. This can be used against you later in terms of legal liability.
- Talk to witnesses. If possible, get the name, phone number and address of every witness. Ask them what they saw. If someone is hesitant to talk with you, be polite. Never beg or threaten them.
After the Accident
- Inform your insurance company. Tell your insurance company that you have been in an accident as soon as possible. Obtain a copy of the police report so you can point out to the insurance company who was at fault for the accident.
- Take pictures. Photograph any damage to your vehicle as soon as possible. This will help your insurance adjuster determine how much you should be compensated for your car’s damages and may also help your case in court.
- Keep track of medical treatment. Keep a list of any doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, or other professionals who treat you. Keeping a written diary of this information is a great help when it comes to itemizing your medical expenses and treatment for your insurance company, your attorney and the court.
- Get a property damage valuation. Your insurance company will give you a valuation for damages to your car. If you aren’t happy with the insurance company’s valuation, get two estimates for the vehicle’s repair or have two dealers provide a quote for the cost to replace your vehicle if it was a total loss. Communicate with the adjuster and be assertive.
- Be careful about discussing the accident. Do not talk about the accident with anyone except your attorney, your insurance company and the police. If anyone from other insurance companies contacts you, ask them to call your attorney or insurance company. Get their name and number and tell your attorney or insurance company that someone contacted you.
- Do not post anything about the accident on social media. Information you post can be found and used against you.
- Be wary of early settlement offers. Be cautious if you are offered a settlement by an insurance company. Make sure that all injuries have been treated and you have a doctor’s prognosis. Some injuries won’t show up for days, weeks, or even months after the accident. Never settle a claim until you are sure you will be compensated for all your injuries. Always consult an attorney.
In any motor vehicle crash, the period immediately following the crash is critical. It is advisable to talk to a skilled Ohio auto accident attorney at Elk & Elk as soon as possible after an accident. Call now for a free case review at 1-800-ELK-OHIO (1-800-355-6446).