The time immediately after your car accident can be filled with confusion and self-doubt. If you’re hurt, or a family member is, medical care is the most important thing. You and your family may be owed compensation from the other driver’s insurance company, and because of that, you have other tasks that demand your attention in order to assure that you get the compensation you deserve. Here are some things you should be aware of as the days and weeks unfold, so you stand a better chance to be fairly compensated for the entire amount of your legal damages.

  1. Remain at the Scene – Never leave an accident scene until a law enforcement officer or emergency medical personnel instructs you to leave. If someone was injured or killed, there can be serious criminal penalties for a hit-and-run driver.
  2. Check on All Drivers and Passengers – Make sure everyone who was in the accident is alright. People are more important than property. Unless there is imminent danger, unconscious victims or those who complain of neck or back pain should not be moved!
  3. Call the Police – As soon as possible after getting to the safest possible location, call the police. Take down all responding officers’ names and badge numbers, as well as their exact police department (or other agency).
  4. Exchange Information – Write down or record on your smartphone all information from everyone involved in the accident: the names, phone numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance information from all drivers involved. Don’t forget to get the names, numbers, and addresses of all passengers too. When speaking with other drivers, be sensitive to their conditions and state of mind. Be civil and cooperative.
  5. Do not apologize for anything when you are gathering and sharing information. Saying you’re sorry that someone is hurt could be mistaken for an admission of legal liability for the accident.
  6. Talk to Witnesses – Ask every witness what they saw. Get their names and contact information if you can. Ask anyone who lives near the accident scene if they’ve seen other accidents in the same place.
  7. Inform Your Insurance Company – Promptly tell your insurance carrier you’ve been in an accident. This is very important because your insurance company’s compliance and involvement on your behalf is important to any legal action you might need to take down the line. Do not give a recorded statement, but cooperate and tell them the truth about what happened and the extent of all injuries to you and your passengers. Explain the facts clearly. Once you receive a copy of the police report—especially if the other driver was ticketed—send a copy to your insurer.
  8. Keep Track of Your Medical Treatment – Keep detailed medical records for you, any family members, and passengers in your car, including information about who treated them, detailed accounts of the treatment, and prescribed medications. Ask for copies of all medical reports and bills to confirm your medical expenses.
  9. Keep a diary of the pain and suffering you and your passengers experience and how it affects your daily lives. Note any missed workdays, list any routine activities you can’t perform, and describe how the injuries have affected the quality of your—and your family’s—lives.
  10. Take Pictures – Timely photographs of any damage to your vehicle help your insurance company establish how much you should be compensated for the damage to your car. Pictures that are taken before the accident make great points of comparison to show the true extent of the damage your vehicle.
  11. Get a Fair Property Damage Amount – If you’re not satisfied with your insurance company’s damage valuation, get one or two independent repair estimates or replacement quotes. Inform your insurance adjuster of your concerns. Be firm but not provocative. If you can’t reach a fair compromise on your car’s value, consider consulting an attorney. You may also be entitled to compensation for the diminished value of your vehicle if it is repaired instead of totaled.
  12. Loose Lips Can Sink Ships – Talk to NO ONE about the details of your accident other than your lawyer and the police. Never talk to a representative of another insurance company if they call you. Politely refer them to your insurance company or your attorney, then quickly inform your lawyer or insurer about the call. And refrain from posting anything about the accident on your social media accounts. You don’t need to give your opponents any ammunition to question your claim or case. If you post, they’ll find it. So don’t!
  13. Early Settlement Offers – If you’re offered a settlement from an insurance company (yours or the other driver’s) be very careful. If you’ve kept good records, you have a general idea of the minimum value of your claim. Don’t settle until you know you’ll be fairly compensated for all your injuries (including the ones you may not have been completely treated for), lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering. It’s a good idea to consult an attorney the moment you receive a settlement offer. If you accept it, that’s the only bite at the compensation apple you’ll get.
  14. Consider Hiring an Attorney – If anyone was injured in the accident, the best idea is to consult an experienced accident attorney who can help protect your maximum compensation prospects and your overall best interests. The injury attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law work for you on a contingency fee basis. We receive payment only if you get an acceptable settlement or win damages at trial. Contact us today at 1-800-444-5000 or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation for your case.