What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
If you have been involved in a car accident, you should keep in mind that you are entitled to claim personal injury protection benefits. This is applicable if you suffered injuries at the hands of an at-fault driver who demonstrated negligence, speeding, distracted driving, texting, drunk driving, aggressive driving, reckless driving or failure to obey signals. In any case, you should, and you must claim damages for any personal injury that you may have incurred.
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The first thing to remember is to keep calm. You will need to make rational decisions and panic will not help now. Call 911 to report the accident and be sure to advise the 911 operator if anyone is injured. In the state, you are required to have a traffic crash report completed if the crash results in death, bodily injury or damage to property of at least $500.
- Move your vehicle to avoid further injury and turn off the ignition of all cars involved. Do not attempt to move the injured unless they are in immediate danger. Do try to keep the injured warm. Stand away from the vehicles in case they are hit again.
- Though it may be tempting, avoid getting into a confrontation with the other driver at the scene. This is not the time to determine who is at fault. It is best to wait for police and cooperate fully with authorities.
- Do exchange information, again avoiding discussion with the other driver about who’s at fault. You will need their license information, registration, and insurance information.
- Look around to determine if there are any witnesses and obtain the names, home addresses, work addresses and all telephone numbers of as many witnesses as possible. Even if the other driver admits fault, this is helpful.
- Seek medical attention, even if you have minor pain. Sometimes the shock of what has just occurred masks more serious problems.
- Take photographs, including shots of any injuries to your body, and make sure all areas of damage to your vehicle are photographed before repairs are done. At the scene, you might consider using a cell phone to take pictures.
Protect your rights – although you generally must reasonably cooperate with your own insurance company’s investigation, the same is not true for the wrongdoer’s insurance company. For example, you are under no obligation to give the other driver’s insurance company any sort of statement concerning the collision. You should consider consulting a car accident attorney before giving a statement to anyone, even your own insurance company.