I get asked a lot of question about what someone should do immediately after they are in a car accident. Here are some steps I outlined to keep in mind if you are in such a situation.
- As a general rule of thumb, keep your auto insurance information in the glove compartment (You’re also required to show proof of insurance when you get pulled over — or else you’ll get a failure to show proof of insurance ticket).
- Stay at the scene of the accident until police have come and gone, making sure you have the name of the officer(s) and that they have your version of what happened. Do not assume a police report is unnecessary.
- Exchange names, addresses, driver’s license and insurance information with the driver of the other car.
- Review your policy to make sure of your coverage — or contact an attorney so that you can go over your policy with him/her. Make a list of questions and related information you want to know.Report the accident promptly to your insurance company, even if you believe the accident is minor. I have had clients who have been denied claims by their insurance company because they did not timely report the accident. Your insurer should be informed.
- Follow up with medical providers and professionals as needed.
- Contact an attorney, particularly if there is a great deal of damage involved (to the car or your person).
- It is advisable to speak with an attorney before giving a “statement” to an insurance company. Insurance companies have a nasty habit of clinging to small facts in such statements and denying or lowering insurance payouts.
Also, look at my post about “Vexatious Refusal and Prejudgment Interest” pertaining to the last step.