What to Do If You’re in an Accident
The moments after a car crash are usually chaotic, emotional, and confusing. At Gallagher & Hagopian, we often talk to clients who wish they had done things differently at the scene of an accident.
Knowing what to do if you’re in an accident will help you stay calm and avoid common mistakes. Start with these four tips.
1. Make Sure Everyone is Safe
While there may be a lot going on immediately after an accident, the most important thing is to put safety first. Begin by checking to make sure you and your passengers are okay. Then, check on the other party. If necessary, call 911 right away.
If your car is safe to drive and it’s causing a hazard where it is, move it out of the way. Also instruct all parties involved to move to a safe place if they’re able to do so. If someone is seriously injured, do not move them. Instead, wait for medical personnel to arrive.
2. Call the Police
When discussing what to do if you’re in an accident, the question of police involvement often comes up. Whether you call 911 or the State Highway Patrol, it’s important to contact the authorities after an accident.
A police report will document the facts as they actually happened. This is helpful when insurance companies are trying to decipher the truth and will help your legal team make your case.
When the police arrive, state the facts but avoid giving your opinion on what you think happened. This will help you avoid mistakenly admitting fault.
3. Exchange Information
When clients talk to our legal team about what to do if you’re in an accident, they often state that they thought it was best to avoid speaking to the other driver. While you should be careful what you say, by law, parties involved in a car accident are required to exchange information.
This includes your names, contact information, insurance company names, and policy numbers. Also document the make, model, and license place number of all cars involved in the collision. This will help ensure you can reach all involved parties after you leave the scene.
4. Document the Scene
If you have your smartphone with you, use it to document the scene of the accident. Take photos of all four sides of all cars involved and any property damage that might have occurred. If there are signs that were obscured or other circumstances that may have contributed to the accident, photograph these as well.
Take notes regarding everything you can remember about the accident while it’s fresh in your mind. If there were any witnesses, ask them what they saw and get their contact information.
Knowing what to do if you’re in an accident will ensure you take care of all the necessary steps before leaving the scene. Next, you’ll need to address of the medical and legal side of things.
If there’s any chance you’ve suffered an injury, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. It’s also important to promptly contact your insurance company and notify them of your accident.
After these things are done, the next step is to think about reaching out to a personal injury attorney. Gallagher & Hagopian offers free case evaluations, so contact us today. We’ll listen to the facts and help you decide on your next steps.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! In the state of Florida, you’re legally required to file a police report after a car accident if either car was damaged, a car was towed, or anyone was injured. A police report is also critical if you need to build a personal injury case.
Never admit responsibility after a car accident. When emotions are high, you may feel the need to apologize, but this is a mistake. Instead, let the insurance company investigate the accident and determine fault.
If you’re involved in a hit and run accident, you’ll need to file a claim under the uninsured motorist coverage on your insurance policy. This is also the case if the other driver is uninsured. The Gallagher & Hagopian team can assist you in filing your claim and help you get the compensation you deserve.
If the other party’s insurance company is calling you, you should always refer them to your insurance company or your attorney. It’s likely they’re trying to get you to agree to a settlement. Until your attorney has given you an expert opinion, you should never agree to anything the opposing insurance company asks you to do.