I’ve been in an accident and capable of making decisions what do I need to do?
At the scene of the accident
- Remain calm and check for serious injury within your car
- If anyone is injured, call 911 for medical assistance
- Do not move an injured person.
- Call the police. Remember to be polite during the entire process. The police officer on the scene may be recording everything you say.
- Turn on your hazard lights.
- If safe to do so, move your vehicle away from traffic.
- Give police your version of what happened. Do not discuss who is at fault or your insurance limits.
- Honestly assess your pain at the scene of the accident. If you have any pain tell the police officer or include that information in your written statement. Don’t not be too specific just give the general area.
- If your pain is moderate to high, consider getting an ambulance to take you to the hospital.
- Do not leave the scene of the accident unless taken by ambulance.
- If able, safely take photos of all the damaged vehicles
- If you do not take an ambulance but you still experience pain go to the emergency room or schedule an appointment with your primary doctor.
The police in their efforts to complete their report will gather information from all parties involved in the accident. You will want to obtain the police officer’s name, department and the incident number. If you are able you want to get the following from the police officer. However this information will become available once the police officer has completed the report. You can also request a copy at the police station or obtain online if available.
- Vehicle owner’s name, address, telephone and/or email address.
- Insurance information (company and policy number)
- Other vehicle information (year, make, model and registration plate)
- Driver’s name, address, telephone and/or email address (if different from the vehicle owner’s information)
- Obtain contact information from passengers and/or witnesses.
- Note the accident location.
After the accident, the following people should be promptly notify:
1. The Insurance Companies Claims Department of each driver and each owner (if the owners are different from the drivers). When contacting the insurance company you should refrain from any discussion of details at this point.
▪ What Can You Say – Identify the insured party by name, birth date, social security (if known) home address. You can obtain this information from the police officer’s accident report or by the individual themselves. You can provide your name, address and telephone number. You can tell them what kind of work you do, and where you’re employed. However keep all conversation simple, direct and to the point.
▪ What you should refrain from saying – The adjuster may ask you to give a recorded statement over the phone about how the accident happened. Politely refuse to give a recorded statement at this time. You can state ” I believe I was not at fault for this accident and will discuss the facts further, at the appropriate time” Do not give details of your injuries because you may leave something out, or discover an injury later, or your injury may evolve into something much worse than you originally thought. Politely state “at this point I would like to refrain from giving details until I have had an opportunity to speak with an attorney or gather more facts”.
2. The insurance company of your own vehicle, regardless of insurance coverage. You want to put your insurance company on notice of your accident. You should refrain from any discussion of details at this point.
3. Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.
4. Contact your primary doctor or go to the emergency room to get reviewed If your pain has not gone away. It is very important to document your condition after an accident.