First Steps at the Scene
After an accident, you should call the police, even if the accident was minor. It is important to make sure everyone involved in the accident is okay and secure medical attention for those who need. If possible and necessary, move out of traffic to a safe place and turn on hazard lights. Once the police arrive, you should ensure a report is filed and make a note of the names and badge numbers of the responding officers. If an emergency medical professional tells you to seek care, you should follow their instructions. However, if you are well enough to remain at the scene, there are several steps you should take:
While you should be cordial and polite to other drivers, it is important not to apologize for anything after an accident.
- Exchange information with all drivers involved. You should write down their names, numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance information. If there were passengers involved, ask for their names, numbers, and addresses as well.
- Talk to witnesses and gather their names, numbers, and addresses.
- Take pictures of the scene as well as any damage to your vehicle. These can later be used by your car accident attorney as evidence to support your claims.
While you should be cordial and polite to other drivers, it is important not to apologize for anything after an accident. An apology could constitute an admission of liability and be used against you in the case of a lawsuit or trial. Additionally, do not sign anything unless the police request it or you discuss the documents with an attorney. It is very important to remain at the scene until it is appropriate to leave. Otherwise, you may be categorized as a hit-and-run driver and face serious criminal penalties.
After Leaving the Scene
Once you leave the scene of the accident, there are further actions you can take to protect yourself.
Keep a Log of Your Medical Treatment
You should keep a detailed account of any treatments and medications you receive as a result of the accident. Record any visits to doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, or other medical professionals as well as referrals. Additionally, keep track of how your injuries have affected your daily life, including work you have missed or routine activities you are unable to perform. Using this information, our attorneys can help you collect compensation for pain and suffering in addition to medical expenses.
Inform Your Insurance Company
After an accident, your insurance company may seek to minimize the extent of your injuries or property damage to reduce their payout costs. To ensure you receive the compensation to which you are entitled, your attorney can speak to the insurance adjuster on your behalf.
Obtain a Property Damage Valuation
Your insurance company will likely perform a damage valuation. If you are dissatisfied with how your provider values your vehicle, you can request an independent repair estimate or replacement quote. If you are unable to agree on the value of your car, a mediator or your attorney can help you reach a compromise.
Retain an Advocate
It is important to be wary of early settlement offers from an insurance company. The attorneys at Rubin & Machado Ltd. can evaluate your offer and ensure that you are receiving fair and just compensation. We have helped many clients collect compensation in a variety of personal injury and car accident suits. For your benefit, there is no fee for an initial case review at our office. Contact us online or call us at (312) 327-1840 to speak to a member of our team today.