The First 5 Steps To Take After A Traffic Collision
There are a variety of accidents that can happen on the road. Collisions can include moving cars, parked cars, trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians, and even the sides of people’s homes. However, no matter what else happens after an accident there are always a few steps you should take to keep everyone safe and protect your right to a fair insurance compensation.
Check On Everyone’s Condition
The first thing you should always do after a traffic accident is check to see how everyone is doing. This means inspecting yourself for any soreness or injuries, checking everyone in the car with you, and then checking everyone else who might have been caught up in the accident. However, you shouldn’t attempt to move or treat anyone who’s injured unless they’re in immediate danger.
Call Emergency Services
If no one is seriously injured and the traffic accident isn’t blocking a road, the police and other emergency services generally don’t need to be called. However, if you do need to call for help you should do so immediately after you’ve checked on everyone’s condition. If you don’t have a mobile phone handy, you should leave your vehicle behind when you go and look for help even if your vehicle is still drivable.
Take Pictures And Write Notes
As you wait for emergency services to arrive, or before you leave the scene to go looking for help, take down what evidence you can of the scene of the accident. If you have a camera phone, take pictures and videos of the damage, the angles of the vehicles involved, and any injuries sustained. Those last photos will be useful even if you were clearly the responsible driver since many states (including Florida) require drivers to carry no-fault personal injury protection insurance.
If you don’t have a camera or camera phone with you but you do have a pen and paper, you can still write down license plate numbers, the insurance information and license numbers of other drivers, a description of the damage, and your account of what led to the accident. You’ll have to repeat a lot of that information when the police arrive, but it can be helpful to have your own written account (especially if the police don’t need to come by).
Get A Professional Appraisal
If your vehicle sustains damage, you should have a professional mechanic look at it and give you an estimate on how much money it will cost to repair. However, you shouldn’t have them start fixing the damage until you contact the insurance company that will cover the costs, whether that’s your company or another driver’s. This is because the insurance policy may not cover all the repairs you need, or they may want an appraisal from a specific body shop.
Submit A Claim
Once you know how much repairs will cost, and how much you can expect in medical bills, you can add all the costs together and submit a claim to the insurer. You’ll need to provide evidence to back up your claim, which is where the pictures, written accounts, written estimates, and medical bills come in handy. Make sure you send the insurer copies of your evidence and not the originals just in case they lose track of their versions or the police need copies as well.
While it’s not always a required step, it’s usually a good idea to consult with a personal injury lawyer about your insurance settlement. Personal injury lawyers regularly work with insurance companies to settle traffic accident claims, and so we’re familiar with all the requirements they demand and all the tricks they use to avoid paying a large claim in full. We can also provide representation if you need it, so if you live in our service area be sure to contact the offices of Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, and Walsh.