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Questions About Car Accidents

No one ever plans on getting into a car accident. But in a matter of moments, your routine drive to work or around town can become a life-changing event. After a car accident, it is common to feel a rush of adrenaline or experience some degree of shock, making the incident highly stressful. These situations often make it difficult to think clearly. Unfortunately, there are some important issues you must address immediately after a car accident. Will you know what to do?

It is a good idea to print out the following information and keep it in your glove compartment. Knowing exactly what to do after a car accident can make an extremely tense situation easier to handle.

Important Steps While You are at the Accident Scene
The first thing you should always do after a car accident is check to see if anyone in your vehicle has been seriously injured. If so, call 911 and request medical attention immediately. Do not attempt to move someone who is unconscious or complains of back or neck pain. It is best to leave this to medical professionals so that you do not make the injury worse.

What information should I obtain from the other driver after a car accident?
While you are still at the scene of the car accident, make sure to obtain the following information:

  • The names and contact information of any other drivers involved in the car accident;
  • The driver’s license number, license plate number, vehicle registration, and insurance information for any other drivers involved;
  • The names and contact information of any witnesses to the car accident;
  • Photos of all damage to the vehicles, as well as photos of the accident scene (skid marks, positioning of vehicles, etc.).

Should I call the Police?
Yes. It is always a good idea to call the police immediately following a car accident. This will provide evidence that the car accident occurred and allow a police officer to be dispatched to the scene. Once at the accident scene, the police officer will interview all parties involved and fill out an accident report indicating who was at fault (if this can easily be determined). This accident report can greatly increase the chances of success in your car accident claim. Also, if your car accident was caused by a drunk driver, by an inattentive driver or because of cellular phone use, the police officer can make a note of this fact in the report.

It is important to answer all of the police officer’s questions truthfully, but do not admit fault, even if you believe you may have caused the car accident.

I’m not sure if I’ve been hurt after the car accident. Do I still need to see a doctor?
It is always a good idea to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident if you believe that you may have been injured. Some common car accident injuries such as whiplash, back injuries, or brain injuries, may take several days or even weeks to develop significant symptoms. By visiting your doctor immediately, you can ensure that you receive the treatment you need before your injuries get worse.
Seeking medical attention right away also gives you documented proof of your car accident injuries. The longer you wait, the easier it will be for the insurance company to argue that your injuries were not caused by the car accident, or that your delay in seeking treatment contributed to the severity of your injuries. Ultimately, waiting too long to see a doctor can hurt your chances of receiving fair compensation for your damages.

Should I call my insurance company?
Most insurance companies will require you to report any car accidents in a timely manner. As with talking to the police, you should always be truthful when talking to your insurance company. Failure to do so can potentially void your coverage. However, it is advisable to speak with an experienced car accident attorney before providing your insurance company with any oral or written statements in connection with the accident.
While you are required to inform your insurance company of the car accident, you do not have to talk with the other driver’s insurance company. It is best to avoid contact with the other driver’s insurance company until you have spoken with a lawyer.