Key Things You Need to Know If You Have Been Involved In a Car Accident
- Always stop if you are involved in an accident, this is your legal obligation. Even if you do not think there was any damage, any time you collide with something, you need to stop your car and check damages to property and/or people.
- Never admit responsibility for the accident no matter what. Your insurance policy is a contract, and your contract for your insurance with your car insurance company states that you must not assume responsibility or liability under these circumstances. If you expect the insurance company to take care of your claim, let them do the talking.
- Determine the Extent of Damage or Injuries. Check to see if anyone needs urgent medical care. If you can, try not to move the vehicles unless they are causing a major problem with traffic. If possible, wait for the police before moving anything.
- Contact the Police. Even in a minor accident, it is important to make sure there is a legal accident report. Read more about how to file a police report when you have a car accident in the article “Your Accident and the Police”.
- Limit Your Conversation about the Accident with the Other Party. It is important to limit your discussion of the accident and not to admit any fault or liability. You should only talk about the accident with the police, medical professionals and your insurance representative.
- Get the Facts of Your Car Accident. This is the part most people know to do but often forget due to the stress of the accident. It is important to get names, addresses, and phone numbers of everyone involved in the accident. A description of the car and license plate number can also be helpful, but make sure you also get their insurance company and the vehicle identification number of their car. Don’t just assume the license plate number will do because most insurance companies only record the type of car and the vehicle identification number, not just the license plate number.
- Use Your Mobile Phone to Take Photos at a Car Accident. With most people having access to mobile phones, and cameras on the mobile phone, as well as insurance companies allowing you to submit claims information using apps or email, you may consider taking photos. This is especially useful for property damage images, images of the positioning of the cars, where they were on the street, etc.
- Contact Your Lawyer then your Insurance Company. Call your attorney before calling your agent or insurance company’s emergency claims number. If you can call them from the scene, it may be even more useful. Sometimes a police officer can give your attorney information that may be helpful. When contacting your insurance company make sure your attorney knows. Do not sign anything with your insurance company before talking with an attorney. The insurance company may ask you questions that can be used against you at a later date. If you tell them today you are not injured they may deny any future medical claim. You have 14 days to seek medical assistance after a car accident. It is always best for those in the accident to be checked out ASAP and at the very least within that time period. Your attorney will be your voice with the insurance company. Let them do the talking for you.
Perry & Young is a nationally recognized personal injury, medical malpractice and property damage firm that has cultivated a reputation for our ability to successfully resolve even the most challenging cases. Over 35 years of experience, our award-winning team has secured multi-millions in numerous verdicts and settlements for clients across Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and the country. Learn more about our services, your potential case and rights, and how we can help by calling (850) 215-7777 for a FREE consultation.