Auto accidents can occur in an instant and without notice. Often time's victims experience shock and their injuries will not develop until a day or two after the accident. In order to protect your rights to a potential injury claim, it is important to obtain as much information as possible after the accident.
The list below will help you itemize what you need to do.
1. Call 911 - if you are experiencing any pain or discomfort it is best to call the police and ask for emergency assistance. The police will assess the scene, assist you with your car and sometimes write a report.
2. Insurance coverage - if the police are called to the scene they will obtain insurance information from all of the parties involved. If the police are not called it is your responsibility to obtain the insurance information from the other driver(s). You will need to obtain the name of the insurance company, policy number, and name of the policyholder. If you have a smartphone you can always take a picture of the front and back of the driver's insurance card, just make sure that your camera is focused so the information is legible.
3. Driver's information- The easiest way to obtain the driver's information is to request the driver's license. You can take a picture of the driver's license with your phone, just make sure to ask if the address on the license is an updated address. If there were any passengers it is a good idea to obtain their information as well.
4. Witnesses - if there were any bystanders or independent witnesses that pulled over to provide assistance it is always important to obtain their information, such as, name, mailing address, phone number and email. The independent witness can be crucial in determining liability.
5. Property damage - always take a picture of the property damage to all of the vehicles involved. Property damage is good objective evidence.
6. Injury pictures - if you have any visible injuries such as cuts, bruises or swelling, make sure to take pictures.
7. DO NOT give a recorded statement - it is okay to notify your insurance company of the accident but you do not have to give a recorded statement. Your attorney or the police report will sort out liability without your recorded statement. If the defendant gives a contradicting statement of events the insurance company will likely decline responsibility regardless of whether you gave a recorded a statement. Auto accident victims often offer a recorded statement before they start to feel the effects of their injuries. This creates problems when the injuries develop later and were not reported in the recorded statement.
8. Seek medical attention - if you are experiencing any symptoms after an accident you should seek medical attention immediately. A hospital, patient first/urgent care clinic or your primary care doctor are all acceptable providers for initial evaluations.
9. Location - make sure to document the exact location where the accident occurred and take pictures of the scene such as the road and surroundings.