People and clients ask me all the time about what they should do if they are involved in a car accident. My response is always the same – it depends on what happened. Each accident is unique.
Some accidents are minor and don’t require much, while others involve serious injuries and require much more action by the accident victims, their friends and family members, law enforcement and medical personnel.
However, there are certain actions everybody should take when they are involved in a car accident, no matter the severity. Here are some helpful reminders:
Stay Calm – a car accident is a scary and traumatic situation. Sometimes, anger and emotion can get the best of people. It is important to stay calm. Getting angry at the other driver or getting too emotional for medical personnel to adequately treat accident victims can make a bad problem even worse.
Call The Police – law enforcement should always be called to a car accident. First, the police can more quickly get medical personnel to the accident scene. Second, the police can ensure the situation does not escalate. Third, a police report is very important documentation later on when opening an insurance claim.
In addition, law enforcement can investigate the scene, take witness statements and measurements, photos of the vehicles and perform other tasks to assess who caused the accident and what occurred.
Last, it is important to tell the police about any pain you are feeling and any injuries you feel you sustained.
Call an Ambulance – even if the accident appears minor, it is important medical personnel are called to the accident scene. Minor injuries can become major life threatening situations very quickly. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Exchange Information – it is essential that insurance information, names and addresses are exchanged with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Insurance companies when opening a claim will require this information. Getting this information at the accident scene is the easiest way.
Take Photos of Vehicle Damage – with smart phones and other modern day technological devices, taking clear photos of the accident scene and vehicle damage in particular is easier than ever.
These photos can help describe to insurance companies later on the severity of the accident and why you are entitled for money to fix the car or compensation for personal injury.
Also, make sure you take photos of not just your car, but the other vehicles involved in the accident as well.
Seek Medical Treatment – following an accident, it is important to follow up with your family doctor or go to a hospital or urgent care. Medical professionals can examine your health and perhaps discover medical problems you were not aware existed. From there they can make recommendations for further treatment.
Make an Insurance Claim – it is important to make an insurance claim as quickly as possible after an accident. Many insurance companies, such as Farm Bureau and State Farm, have strict requirements for making insurance claims within certain times following the accident. If too much time has elapsed after the accident, you have forever forego your rights to benefits available to you under your insurance policy.
These are just basic steps every person should take when they are involved in a motor vehicle or motorcycle accident. At the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C., our experienced team of Detroit car accident attorneys and Flint car accident lawyers can answer your questions and will fight vigorously to get you the compensation you deserve.
For a free legal consultation, call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733).