Your ‘To Do’ Checklist For After A Car Accident
Whether you are viewing this page immediately after a crash or a day or more later, these tips can provide guidance on information and communications that will help maximize your ability to recover compensation.
First: Check to see whether anyone was injured. This is fundamental, of course. If you are a bystander and/or for any reason are not confident about searching for injured people in a crashed vehicle, go on to the next step:
Second: Call 911. Ideally, someone in the car or truck will have a cellphone with power available. If not, you may need to flag a passing car or go on foot to the nearest business or home where someone can help you call for help. Then, wait for police or other first responders to arrive. While you wait, you may be able to move to the next steps:
Third: Take pictures or ask someone to take pictures of the injuries, wrecked vehicles and surroundings. Graphic images may prove to be critical for persuading claims adjusters or jurors of the seriousness of an accident and the resulting injuries. Continue taking pictures when the injured person is in the emergency room, if possible. Bruises, lacerations and signs of unconsciousness may tell the story that appearances later on will not.
Fourth: Gather valuable contact information from people who may be hard to track down otherwise. Get names, phone numbers and insurance company information from other drivers. Ask other eyewitnesses to share names, phone numbers and/or email addresses. Preserve all this information carefully to help your personal injury lawyer get started on a detailed investigation without delay.
Fifth: Notify your insurer of the accident. Many insurance companies hold fast to this requirement. Naturally, if the insured driver is unable to communicate, this step may need to be handled by someone else or postponed until a future time, but should be done as soon as possible. Perhaps the driver’s wallet or glove compartment contains an insurance card that can help with this step. Beware, however: Do not give your insurer a detailed statement about what happened until you have legal counsel. You can and should invoke your right to get legal advice before allowing your insurer to record your narrative.
The Next Step Should Be Obvious: Get Legal Advice
You may have rapid-fire interactions with a number of people after a serious accident: Other passengers or drivers of other vehicles; other eyewitnesses; perhaps a police officer, firefighter and/or emergency medical technician (EMT); an insurance company representative and perhaps support personnel in an emergency room. With all the urgent activity doing on around you, remember your right to talk with a lawyer. Many people put off contacting an attorney for a while, but a personal injury lawyer is likely the person best equipped to advocate in your best interests.
Take advantage of our offer of a free initial consultation as soon as possible. Contact Wittmer | Linehan by phone at 941-263-8314 or by sending an email inquiry through this website. We are available to take it from here, once we hear from you.