BANG!!! YOU’VE JUST BEEN INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT!!!
It’s normal to be confused with all of the craziness going on around you, along with the shock and cloudiness in your brain. Wait until you begin dealing with all of the headaches of dealing with the injuries, insurance companies, lawyers, and other parties remembering the chain of events slightly different. It can really get crazy. EVERY PERSON SHOULD take certain steps:
- Make sure everyone is OK AND CALL 911—before concerning yourself with vehicle damage and exchanging insurance information, and make sure everyone else is OK too. CALL 911, and insist on a Report...because people will change their story and the Police must take a report if someone is INJURED.
- Don’t apologize—yes, politeness is an admirable trait, but in this situation, a simple "I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention," can be seen as an admission of liability.
- Start talking—to witnesses, that is. Get all the relevant contact information of any bystanders that may have seen the accident.
- Take Pictures—having proof of the damage to the car will help with insurance, and serve as evidence if there is a dispute down the line. One helpful tip is to always keep a disposable camera in your glove compartment for these situations.
- Take Notes—similar to pictures, as soon as possible can serve to expedite the process. Keep a journal of how the accident happened, list your injuries, and every treatment you receive along with the costs of everything related to the accident.
- SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION...SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION...SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION...Can you tell that this is extremely important? AND, TREAT, TREAT, TREAT. If there is a gap in medical treatment from the time of the accident until you first seek medical attention, the insurance companies will use this to show you couldn’t have been that injured, or that your injuries weren’t related to the accident.
- Call your insurance company and tell them about your accident and Get a Property Damage Figure from your Insurance Company—this valuation will serve as the amount you can recover or replace your car. If you are not happy with the figure from your insurance company, seek outside quotes.
- Careful Who You Talk To—if the other party's insurance company contacts you, your best response is to get in touch with your insurance company or attorney. Why? Because they are better equipped to handle the situation.
- Don't automatically accept the first estimate or offer you get—jumping the gun on the settlement can be a costly mistake.
- CALL ME, AND I WILL HELP YOU, EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE A CASE WORTH PURSUING.