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What Do I Do After a Car Accident?

What Do I Do After a Car Accident?

It all happened so fast, but now you’re on the side of the road with a banged up car, wondering what to do next. Whether this is your first accident or not, it can be a challenge to remember what steps you’re supposed to take while you’re still in shock. Even if you’ve been in an accident before, it’s important to remember these steps to protect your claim.

Step 1: Check If Everyone is Okay

Safety should be a top priority after an accident. Check to make sure that everyone in the car is uninjured. If someone is seriously injured, don’t hesitate to call for an ambulance. It is most important to make sure that everyone is safe. Even if you aren’t seriously injured, it is still recommended that you go straight to the emergency room or urgent care when you are done at the scene, and encourage your passengers to do the same. If necessary, move the cars to a safer spot.

Step 2: Gather Information

You will need to get a copy of the other driver’s information. If there is more than one vehicle involved, write down the information of each driver separately. This includes the driver’s:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • License plate numbers
  • Insurance information
  • Make and model of the vehicle

You should also gather the names and contact information of any witnesses. They may even allow you to record their statement with your phone. Additionally, be sure to note the exact location of the accident and the name and badge number of the responding officer.

Step 3: Contact the Police

No one likes to call the police, but it is important that you do so after an accident. An officer should come to the scene and take a report, which will be one of the main documents of your claim. They will include a description of the scene, the information of both you and the other driver, who was involved, the names of any witnesses, the damages, any injuries, and a description of what occurred. If an officer is not available to take a report, you can file one yourself at the police station. It is best to have some documentation of your own to help you file your report. Photographs are very helpful, which leads us to the next step.

Step 4: Photograph the Accident Scene

Photographs serve a number of purposes in an accident claim. They can be helpful for you if you need to file a police report. They also can aid you in retelling the story to your attorney, and provide visual evidence of the accident itself for insurance agents. You can use your cell phone to easily take pictures of the accident scene, traffic signs, damage to the vehicles, and injuries at the scene, so it stays fresh in your mind. When taking pictures, aim for close-ups, medium distance, and long distance shots, and take pictures from a variety of angles. Try to keep a landmark in the background of shots that are not close-ups. When photographing the vehicles, try to keep identify markers, such as the license plate, in the shot.

Step 5: Report the Accident to Your Insurer

Be sure to notify your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible. Making a report immediately can make your claim far easier and prevent your insurance company from denying your claim due to the delay.

Step 6: Speak with an Attorney

After you have documented the scene, filed a police report, gathered information, and been examined by a physician, you may feel that you’ve done a lot. You have, but you’re not quite done yet. It’s time to get in touch with an experienced car accident lawyer. They will be your advocate and guide through the entire claims process. Our attorney has the knowledge to fight effectively for the compensation you deserve and can help you maximize your claim.

Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law is committed to protecting the rights of injured victims. Our Albuquerque auto accident lawyer is backed by more than 10 years of trial-tested experience. Let us fight for you.

Schedule a free consultation to learn what we can do to help you. Contact our firm online, or dial (505) 219-2176.

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