Auto accidents can be disruptive to your already busy life. To keep yourself organized during this overwhelming time, be sure to do these six things. This will simplify things for you, your insurance company and your attorney (if you need one).
1. Document general information from the accident.
Write down the exact time and date of the accident. The police who came to the scene should have this information, but it’s important to always have secondary documentation in case a clerical error is made.
2. Document exact details about the accident.
Write down everything you remember from the scene of the crash while it’s still fresh in your mind — the weather, traffic, pedestrians and road conditions, etc. Describe the direction of traffic, your speed (and the other car(s) relative speed) and any distractions that may have taken place (such as animals on the side of the road). If you took pictures at the scene of accident debris and skid marks, that’s even better!
3. Take notes of injuries.
Injuries can sometimes be masked by adrenaline immediately following an accident. However, as the hours pass post-accident, take notes of any physical pain you (or others involved in the crash) might be feeling. If you think there is any chance you sustained an injury, visit a doctor within 24 hours for both your own safety and for liability. If you have bruises or other visual injuries, take photos as they progress.
4. Details interactions with emergency responders.
If you haven’t already filed a police report, make sure to do so immediately. This is important no matter how minor the damage to your car or someone else’s. Be sure the report is detailed and save a copy for your files. If emergency responders came to the scene, document the interactions you had with police and other emergency personnel.
5.Call insurance company.
If you took photos at the scene of the accident, share them with your insurance company. Give them all the documentation you compiled — description of accident details, pictures, etc. Also, give them the insurance information of the other party. If the other driver refused to give insurance information, here’s what to do.
6.Consider legal action.
You might want to consider calling a lawyer following your auto accident. Here’s how to determine if a personal injury attorney can help your situation. In preparation for meeting with an attorney, download our Auto Accident Toolkit, another resource we compiled to help make this stressful time more manageable for you.
Collecting this information quickly will minimize the stress often caused by car accidents and will ensure your auto accident claim and a potential legal case is handled correctly.