What To Do (And Not To Do) If You’ve Been Involved In An Accident
Calling 911 is the first thing that you should do. Police may need to be called to the scene to investigate the accident and ultimately write a report. Additionally, paramedics may need to be called to treat injuries at the scene as well as transport any injured persons to the nearest emergency room.
You will need to exchange information with any other involved drivers. The information to exchange includes names, addresses, telephone numbers, license plate information, and also insurance information. Specifically, the insurance information should include the name of the insurance company as well as the policy number. Do NOT discuss who is at fault for the accident. (See below)
Perform Your Own Investigation
While still at the scene of the incident, you will need to gather information about the accident. This includes: taking photographs of the damage to involved vehicles, any debris or skid marks, and the scene of the accident; identifying witnesses and securing their contact information; and even drawing a diagram to show how the accident occurred.
Call Your Insurance Company
As soon as possible, call your insurance company and inform them that you were in an accident. You will likely need to provide them with the basic facts of the accident as well as information about any other involved parties. As soon as this can be provided to you, make sure that you are provided with a claim number and also the name and contact information of the adjuster that will be handling your claim. However, do NOT give your insurance company a recorded statement. (See below)
Do Not Discuss Who Is At Fault
Do not discuss fault with the other driver at the scene of the accident or anywhere else. Who is at fault for the accident will ultimately be decided later on and by other individuals, and should not be a topic of conversation between the parties themselves.
Do Not Give A Recorded Statement To Any Insurance Company Without Being Represented By An Attorney
As stated above, when you are informing your own insurance company that you were in an accident, do NOT consent to a recorded statement. Similarly, if you are contacted by the other driver’s insurance company, do NOT consent to a recorded statement. Rather, retain a qualified personal injury attorney that has experience handling automobile accident cases so that your rights can be protected and enforced. If your attorney then decides to allow you to give a recorded statement to an insurance company, you will have the protection that being represented by an attorney affords.