First Steps after an Auto Accident
Get medical care. Before anything else, it’s important to check passengers or anyone else involved in the crash for visible signs of injury. Call for an ambulance – to ensure that anyone who appears to be injured can get the necessary and appropriate medical care, and check everyone else for non-apparent injuries.
If an ambulance is not called, anyone with injuries should immediately proceed to a hospital emergency room for a thorough examination. What may appear as a minor injury may turn out to be serious, and can worsen without appropriate treatment.
Call the police. Even if the accident appears to be a minor one, it’s important to call law enforcers after the severity of any injury is determined. Speak to the responding police officers and provide them with your statement of what happened. Never leave the accident scene until you have exchanged information and have been permitted to do so by the police.
Gather information. Write down all pertinent details of the crash such as:
- Names and phone numbers of all persons involved
- Names and contact details of witnesses
- Take pictures. Use cell phones to take pictures of the vehicles and the accident scene, drivers’ licenses, insurance cards, and vehicle registration documents
Report to your insurance carrier. Talk to your insurance carrier and report the incident as soon as practicable. In the days following the accident, the other driver’s insurance carrier may try to contact you to obtain a statement that can be used to either lay blame on you or otherwise minimize the value of your claim. Avoid giving any recorded statements to the other insurance carrier or negotiating with them on your own.
Follow up with your primary care physician. If you or your loved one is injured as a result of the auto accident, you should follow up with your primary care physician. Inform your medical provider about the accident, particularly what happened and the specific problems you are experiencing after the accident.
Contacting the Police after an Accident
In any type of motor vehicle collision, it’s always important to contact the police and request they come to the scene of the accident. In large cities where police will only come to crash scenes where there are serious injuries, you should go to the nearest police station to report what happened.
A person who is involved in an accident may not always be aware of their injuries, often due to the rush of adrenaline that may mask sensations of pain or achiness, or other physical problems resulting from the accident. An injured party may also not realize their injury at the scene of the accident only to wake up the next morning with body pain or other problems.
A police report will contain important details of where and how the accident happened and will include names and contact information for the people involved along with their insurance information. The report will also include a diagram of the accident, the number and type of vehicles that were involved, and may include witness statements, photographs and other essential information for presenting an accident claim.
Calling the police to make a police report, whether or not you appear to be injured, can help you recover compensation against the party at fault both for you property damage and any personal injuries that develop after the crash.
When a Driver Tells You Not to Report an Accident To The Police
If a driver tells you not to report an accident, ignore the suggestion and do what is necessary to preserve your rights to claim compensation.
A motor vehicle collision may result in substantial damage to your vehicle and physical injury to you and your passengers. If you intend to file a claim with your own insurance carrier, you will need to provide certain documents and information for the insurance carrier to process payment. Without the police report, you won’t be able to produce the required documents for your own insurance claims, and worse, if you’re involved in a more serious accident, it will be more difficult to make a claim against the insurance carrier for the individual or company who caused the accident.
Importance of an Auto Accident Lawyer
Claiming compensation from insurance carriers requires time, knowledge, experience, and effort that are best accomplished through a lawyer. If you are injured in an auto accident, your focus should be on getting better instead of trying to negotiate with experienced insurance adjusters.
The insurance industry is in the business of collecting premiums and finding ways to pay the least amount on any given claim. The insurance carrier does not have the injured victim’s best interest at heart. Without an attorney, the injured party is at the mercy of the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier.
An experienced personal injury attorney knows how to work with, and if necessary, against, the insurance carrier. At Condeni Law, LLC, our personal injury attorneys know how to evaluate a claim and how to navigate the process to ensure that the client obtains the best possible outcome.
Dealing with Insurance Companies after an Accident
Injured Party’s Own Insurance Carrier
You have an obligation to cooperate with your own insurance carrier. Even if you believe that you were not at fault, you should still report the accident to your insurance company. Depending on the circumstances, your insurance company can start the process of having your vehicle repaired or replaced. You may also have medical expense coverage available under your own policy. Your premiums should not increase if the accident was not your fault.
Other Driver’s Insurance Carrier
The insurance carrier of the person who caused the accident can be expected to contact you and ask for a recorded statement of what happened and if you were injured. It’s important not to provide the other insurance carrier with a recorded statement as they will often try to use it against you. You should get the name of the person who contacted you, the claim number assigned to their particular claim, and the phone numbers and addresses of the insurance representative who reached out to you. It is also proper to let them know you were injured and are seeking medical care.
You are strongly advised not to sign any documents, or give any recorded statements to the insurance carrier for the person who caused the accident.
Preparing for the Initial Consultation
An initial consultation will help us assess your situation and the legal options available under the circumstances. For purposes of the consultation and if you already have them, we will ask you to bring:
- A copy of the police report, or the police report number that the police officer may provide on a card
- Pictures of damage to the vehicles and/or the accident scene
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses
- Client’s own driver’s license
- A copy of your own auto insurance declaration page
- Your health insurance card
- Any medical records and medical bills
- Anything pertaining to the accident and/or the medical treatment
What Condeni Law Can Do for You in an Auto Accident Case
At Condeni Law, LLC, our clients receive personal attention. We will gather evidence, contact witnesses, secure medical records and bills, obtain expert reports and present a persuasive settlement demand package to the insurance carrier. We will then negotiate your claim to obtain the best settlement offer we can. If we are able to obtain a settlement offer that meets with our recommendation and your approval we will then settle the claim. If not, we will prepare, file and vigorously pursue litigation until a just settlement or verdict is obtained.
We are prepared to represent you aggressively and pursue your claim zealously. Through our experience in working with insurance carriers, we will strive to reach an amicable resolution in a timely manner. If a fair settlement cannot be reached out of court, we are ready, willing, and able to file the lawsuit, conduct discovery, and pursue your claim aggressively through the legal system.
Contact us today for a free consultation (216) 771-1760