There are a number of steps that you should take after a car crash to protect yourself and to preserve evidence for future use. While you are still on scene at the incident location, the first and primary concern is to ensure your safety and to get any emergency medical care that you or other injured persons may need. Once everyone is stable and if possible, you should immediately begin to collect and preserve any evidence that you may need later to prove any claims and to receive compensation for your injuries.
What Should you do at the Scene of the Accident?
If you are able, call the police before doing anything else. If you or anyone else on scene is injured, dial 911. The dispatcher who takes your call will send police and paramedics to your location who can provide emergency medical care and stabilize any injuries that you have. If no one is injured, call the non-emergency line for highway patrol or a local police agency.
When law enforcement arrives, they will begin their own investigation of the incident. They will try to determine exactly what happened and who was at fault. Insurance companies, courts, and lawyers will often rely on the officer's accident report as a reliable source of facts, so you should interact with the officer and ensure that the information they are receiving is accurate.
If you are able to do so and if it is safe to do so, you should gather as much evidence as possible at the scene including names of witnesses and photographs of the accident scene. Ask witnesses for their name, address, phone number, and email address. Ask them to write a short statement about what they saw. Take photographs of the accident scene, including any vehicles that were involved. Photograph all property damage and any injuries that you or other motorists sustained.
What Should you do After the Accident?
If you are taken to the hospital for emergency care, provide your insurance information to the hospital staff and ask how to obtain a copy of your medical records before you leave the hospital. If you did not require emergency treatment, schedule a visit with your doctor as soon as possible to get a checkup. There are many types of common auto accident injuries, such as soft tissue injuries, that have a delayed onset and are not immediately obvious. If you wait too long before diagnosis and treatment, the insurance company is more likely to deny your claim.
Notify your insurance company immediately with a phone call, and follow up with a written letter sent by certified mail. Do not give any detailed statements to your insurance company or the at-fault party's insurance company until you have spoken with your auto accident lawyer, but you must give notice of any accident to your insurance company immediately.
Contact an experienced and reputable auto accident lawyer immediately. Your personal injury attorney at Axelrod and Associates will help you to gather your evidence, present your claim to the insurance company, negotiate your claim, and take the at-fault party's insurance company to trial when necessary to ensure you are receiving full compensation.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer on the Axelrod team. Call us at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form today.