Even the best drivers get into accidents sometimes. In the blink of an eye, someone can run a red light, dodge an obstacle, or look away just long enough to drift out of their lane and cause a fender bender.
This checklist can help you know what to do when you’ve been in a car accident.
At the Scene
- Stay calm, and stay safe.
- Stay at the scene.
- Check everyone present for injuries.
- Call 911 if someone needs medical care.
- Call the police to document the accident. Follow any instructions they give you.
- Turn on your hazard lights, and move your vehicle out of traffic (if possible), if it’s blocking traffic or creating a safety hazard.
- Walk around your car, and take pictures of any damage. Also take pictures of the area for reference.
- Exchange information with other drivers. Get names, contact information, and insurance details from all the drivers involved in the accident.
- Talk to witnesses. Talk to anyone who saw the accident and is still in the area – business owners, other drivers, homeowners, or pedestrians. Get their names and contact information, and ask them if they’ve seen other accidents in that spot.
- Take notes about how the wreck happened, while it’s fresh in your mind.
- Do not sign anything (unless it’s for the police).
After the Accident
- Contact your insurance company.
- Get a copy of the accident report filed by the police or involved drivers.
- Keep records of any medical treatment you receive.
- Get a property damage valuation for car repairs.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer to protect your rights. Get representation before making statements to the other driver(s) or their insurance company.
- Don’t accept an insurance settlement claim too early. You may not be compensated for all your physical injuries if you settle before your medical care is complete. Consult with your attorney before signing any settlements.
Car accidents can happen any time. Often, fender benders are fairly simple to resolve, but physical injuries can take days or weeks to surface after an accident. That’s why it’s wise to follow these steps documenting what happened.
Remember to always have your insurance card and vehicle registration in the car, so you’ll be prepared if you get pulled over or are involved in a car accident. It’s also a good idea to carry a first aid kit and the phone number for roadside assistance or a tow truck. You can also print a copy of this checklist and store it in your glove compartment so you’ll remember what to do if you’ve been in a car accident.
Contact a Chattanooga Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’re hurt in a wreck, an experienced car accident attorney can help you maximize the damages you recover from the accident. Call us at 423-531-2800 or contact us online for a free consultation. We’ve got the experience and know-how you need.