1. Do Not Leave the Scene: Other than very minor accidents, involving very little property damage (which you are probably not qualified to assess), you must remain at the scene and report any accident to the police, If you leave the scene of the accident you maybe be charged with a traffic violation. or worse if there were serious injuries or a death.
2. Call the Police: check to see if you or your passengers are injured but, unless you're a trained medical profession, don't move or move any other passenger. Then call the police. You can't count on anyone else making the call.
3. Remain in Your Vehicle: Because of the mental stress an accident can cause, unless your vehicle is on fire or poses some other risk, you're probably safer staying in your vehicle, rather than being exposed to other traffic, or possibly an irate driver.
4. Don't Talk to Anyone, other than the Police: Under the stress of an accident, its easy to make statements to witnesses or the other driver that may not be completely accurate and could hurt you later. Do not tell anyone you're not injured. Because your adrenaline is running high from the accident, you may not feel pain immediately after the accident. If you do feel pain or any other injury, just state it generally, such as "my neck, knee, back hurts". Do't exaggerate your the extent of the pain or injury you may have suffered.
5. Do Not Admit Fault or Responsibility. Do not tell anyone "I'm sorry, or its my fault, or I can't believe I did this, didn't see the stop sign, I didn't see the other vehicle", or similar phrases. Always state, "the other driver hit me", ad leave it at that.
6. Make Sure the Police Get all Information: Due to the number of car accidents they see, and the fact they'd rather be doing something other than writing an accident report, many police officers do the minimum at the accident scene and enter whatever agrees with their opinion of fault. They sometimes do not take take statements from all the witnesses. Look to see who the witnesses are and, once the police are there, get their names and numbers, or ask the offices to do it.
7. If You Think You're Injured Seek Medical Attention Immediately. For obvious reasons, if you're injured do not drive yourself to the hospital, allow an ambulance to transport you. Some injuries may appear days, weeks or months after an accident. Even if you think you may be okay, it is wise to be examined by a physician as soon as possible. Follow all your Doctors instructions, for treatment or referrals to a specialist.
8. When You Get Home Write Down Everything you Remember about the accident: Time of day, weather, road conditions, light or dark, overcast or clear, the position of the sun, speed of the other driver was at the time, what the other driver or any witness said.
9. Notify your insurance company: As soon as you get home, report the accident to your insurance carrier. Otherwise, you may not be entitled to benefits or a defense if the other party sues you. You are required to cooperate with your insurance carrier; however, you should not cooperate with the others drivers insurance carrier (make sure you know which is which). Also, do not talk to the other party, or any investigator who works for the other party or their insurance carrier. If you're unsure, call your carrier and find out of they've sent someone to call or visit you.
10. Keep all bills, receipts and correspondence you receive that pertain in any way to the accident.
11. Take Pictures of Everything: The damage to your vehicle(from every angle and the inside), any scars, fractures, bruises, while you're in the hospital, your treatment, daily care and rehabilitation.
12. If You're Injured, Hire a Qualified Attorney as Soon As Possible: An attorney will handle every aspect of your case, so that you don't have to deal with the insurance companies, and may be able to recover money for you. Most attorneys do not charge a fee, unless they recover money for your damages. An insurance company may try and settle the case with you, and say you can avoid paying attorneys fees if you settle directly with them. Statistics show that people recover more money for injuries, even after attorneys fees, if they're represented by an attorney, than if they try and settle the case by themselves
If you or a family member have been injured in any way, you should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
I have over 25 years experience successfully handling injury cases, from minor injuries to cases involving death, brain injury, amputation and disability. Call me for a free consultation. I'll take as much time as necessary to listen to your claim and explain how I can help you.
All the Best!
Randy C. Redden