Tag Archives: car accident

After the Accident: 12 Essential Steps

The screech has echoed, your heart is racing and someone is yelling—the immediate aftermath of a car accident can be tremendously stressful, and common mistakes made in this critical time frame can cause an immense amount of preventable headaches. Here’s what you need to do following a car accident to ensure you’re able to get back to normal as soon as possible afterwards.

  1. Stay where you are. Don’t leave the scene of the accident until you are absolutely sure it is time, which includes at least the first six steps on this list. This is particularly serious if someone was injured or killed, as there are severe criminal penalties for ‘hit and run’ incidents.
  2. Assess the health of those involved. Don’t even think about checking out that knocked over mailbox before you know that all the passengers and drivers involved are physically well. This may include calling for an ambulance. Let certified emergency personnel do any moving of people who may have sustained back or neck injuries.
  3. Call law enforcement. In many states it is a crime for not filing a police report after an accident. Be sure you record the name and badge number of the officer who responds, and get the number on the police report as well.
  4. Exchange your information. With the other drivers involved, be sure that you obtain their: name, phone number, address, driver’s license number, license plate number, and insurance information. Also be sure to get the basic information of passengers involved.
  5. Speak with people at the scene. If there are witnesses in addition to those drivers and passengers, do get quotes from these people on what they saw, and ask for contact information if possible. See if there have been multiple incidents in that location previously.
  6. Photograph the incident. As soon as possible following the accident, take photographs of your vehicle or any property damage that may have occurred. This will help your insurance properly account for the damages. And while we’re at it…
  7. Call your insurance. Cooperate with your insurance company in telling exactly what happened, even if you are at fault. Give them the full information from the police report and details regarding any injuries you have sustained.
  8. Obtain a property damage valuation. Also from your insurance company, get the numbers on how they’ve valued the damage to your vehicle. If you don’t agree with their assessment, you can seek out a second opinion.
  9. Track your own well-being. Keep detailed records of medical treatment you have following an accident, including documenting expenses and doctors’ recommendations. Additionally, record if you have had to miss work due to your injuries and other ways the incident has affected your daily life.
  10. Speak cautiously. Especially at the scene of the accident, do not apologize for anything, as it can be considered a legal admission of guilt. Afterwards, be careful about speaking with other insurance companies about the incident, and refer those calling unannounced to your attorney or own insurance company.
  11. Consider the settlement. If you’re being offered a settlement before your physical injuries have been healed, take care not to rush into signing off any future rights to compensation. Discuss this additionally with your attorney, as explained below.
  12. Work with your attorney. You’ll need an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you after an accident to get the compensation you deserve, and we at Borrus, Goldin, Foley, Vignuolo, Hyman and Stahl, P.C. are up to the task. Call us today for a consultation at 732-422-1000.