In Phoenix, Arizona, about 83 auto accidents happen each day, with an innocent victim passing away every other day. Getting involved in an auto accident is a traumatizing experience that no one should go through, but unfortunately, they happen often. If you get involved in an auto accident, you’ll want to know what proper steps to take after a car accident.
This car accident guide will cover twelve vital steps you should take after a car accident and who you can reach out to for more information if you’ve suffered injuries from the incident.
1. Remain Calm
You must stay as calm as possible. Car accidents are traumatic experiences that can cause you to worry and panic soon after the accident happens. Your adrenaline may be rushing, so take a few deep breaths and stay as calm as possible.
2. Check for Any Injuries
As mentioned above, your adrenaline may rush, so you may not initially feel your injuries. If you notice that you or your passengers have injuries, call the ambulance or designate someone to reach out to the ambulance on your behalf.
If you are unable to get out of your vehicle, stay where you are. It is best to let the EMTs and firefighters get you out of the car just in case you have any broken bones or severe injuries that can get worse by you moving on your own.
3. Move to a Safe Area
If your vehicle is safe to move, drive your car out of the way of traffic, so you don’t block any oncoming traffic or cause another collision. If you are unable to move your vehicle, get yourself and your passengers out of the way of traffic. As mentioned earlier, don’t attempt to move yourself or the car if you cannot move at all.
4. Call the Local Authorities
Once everyone is safe and accounted for, reach out to the police to make a police report. Depending on your county and the severity of the impact, a police officer may be there within a few minutes, whereas others may take a little bit longer to get to the scene.
5. Exchange Information With the Other Driver
While at the scene of the car crash, try exchanging information with the other driver.
Information to gather from the other driver:
- Insurance company contact information
- Insurance company policy number
- Full name of the driver
- Driver’s phone number and mailing address
- Driver’s license number
- Year, make, model, and color of their vehicle
- Location of where the accident happened
- Vehicle owner information (if it is not the driver)
Be careful when approaching the other driver. Some people are volatile and not easy to approach after an accident. Suppose the other driver is unwilling to provide you with their information. In that case, you may have to wait until the police report is ready to get their contact and vehicle insurance information.
When you speak with the other driver, you mustn’t admit fault. Do not go over the facts of what happened in the accident with the other driver. It is best to wait until you speak with the auto insurance company before you talk about anything that happened in the accident.
6. Take Photos and Gather Evidence
While you’re at the scene of the accident, take photos of the vehicle’s damages and the location of the accident. These photos help the auto adjusters better understand how the accident happened and the severity of the accident.
If any independent witnesses saw what happened, kindly approach them and ask for their information. Their witness statements could help corroborate your story if the other driver tries to change their version of events to make it seem like the accident was your fault.
7. Wait for help
If you are at the accident scene and the authorities have not shown up, just sit tight. As mentioned earlier, sometimes they show up fast if the accident is severe, whereas others don’t show up until a little later.
While you wait, make sure you look out for bandit tow truck companies. These truck drivers come to the scene and offer their services. They prey on your vulnerability and confusion, hoping you will let them take your vehicle to their facility.
Make sure you refuse their services. These tow truck drivers will take your vehicle to a facility and hold it there for an unreasonable payout.
8. Consider Hiring a Car Accident Attorney After a Car Accident
Before you reach out to the auto insurance company to make a claim, you may want to consider contacting a car accident attorney. If you sustained any injuries from the accident and the other driver is at fault for the loss, the auto insurance adjuster will try to make you accept a low settlement offer.
Negotiating the worth of your case with an auto adjuster is exhausting, and you may want just to give up and accept the offer. Even more, even if the other driver is at fault for the accident, the adjuster may try to put some of the blame on you.
Insurance adjusters are notorious for asking questions meant to trip you up during the recorded statement process. To ensure that you don’t unintentionally incriminate yourself, reach out to a car accident attorney to handle the claims process on your behalf.
9. Contact Your Insurance Company
When you are safe and ready to call your insurance company, contact them and make a claim. Depending on your insurance carrier, you may be able to submit the claim online on your phone or your computer.
10. Contact the Other Insurance Company
If the accident is not your fault, it is best to reach out to the other insurance company to make a claim. If you decide to seek counsel, do not call the insurance company on your own.
Instead, your car accident lawyer will handle creating the claim for you and speaking with the insurance company about what happened. You will just go through the normal claims process if you don’t retain counsel.
The other insurance adjuster will call you and ask for your statement about what happened. If they accept liability for the claim, they will take care of the damages to your vehicle and offer you a settlement for your injuries once you finish treatment.
11. Keep Track of Your Damages
While you wait for the claim to complete, make sure you keep track of your damages. This includes any two bills, medical expenses, or other out-of-pocket expenses you had to pay as a result of the accident. If the other insurance company accepts liability for the claim, they will review all your documents and reimburse you.
12. Follow Up With the Insurance Company
The entire claims process can take a few weeks to complete because the adjuster needs time to conduct their investigation. If you are assigned a good adjuster, the adjuster should reach out to you and give you reasonable updates. There are times, though, when you have an adjuster that does not make enough contact, leaving you to do the groundwork to find out what is going on with your claim.
Should I Consult a Car Accident Attorney?
As mentioned earlier, if you plan on retaining counsel to help with your injuries, it is best to at least consult with one before you start the claims process. Hiring a lawyer after a car accident is an excellent way to ensure the best possible end of result of your car accident claim.
If you have to file a car accident lawsuit, you can rest assured that your attorney will handle the investigation and claims process. If your case has to go to trial, your lawyer will represent you in the courtroom, so you don’t have to deal with court proceedings alone.
Get the Help You Deserve After a Car Accident
Auto accidents are scary experiences that even the most skilled driver experiences at least once in their lifetime. After a car accident happens, you must remain as calm as possible and follow the steps above.
If you suffered injuries from the accident due to the other driver’s negligence, you might want to reach out to an attorney to help you navigate the next steps in your claims process to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation. We are here to answer any questions or concerns you have.