Auto Accident FAQ
What should I do after an accident?
Immediately after an accident, find somewhere safe to stop. While you want the scene of the accident to remain as untouched as possible, for liability purposes, your top priority should be keeping yourself, and any passengers in your car, safe. Next, check to see that you and everyone in your vehicle are unharmed, then go see if the other people involved in the accident are injured. If anyone requires medical attention, even for a minor injury, call 911 immediately.
After everyone’s safety is established, call the police. If nothing else, the responding officer will be able to write up an accident report for your records, which will make establishing an insurance claim easier. Exchange information with everyone involved, write down the badge number of the responding officer and gather contact information from any witnesses. Take photos of the scene and any damage to your vehicle.
Schedule a visit with your doctor as soon as you can, even if you feel fine. Keep documentation of the visit, and any injuries, for your records. Next, contact your insurance to make a claim and reach out to your lawyer to handle the rest.
What information should I get from the other parties involved in the accident?
Ask for their full name, address, and a way to contact them, like cell phone number or email address, as well as the name of their insurance company, and their driver’s license number. Take note of the types of vehicles involved, their year, make and model, color, VIN number, and license plate number. If there were any witnesses, ask for their contact information, as well as a few notes about what they saw happen. If an officer responded to the incident, take down his or her badge number.
Should I contact my insurance company? When?
Yes—you should report the accident to your insurance company as soon as you are able to do so. Most insurers have rules about how long policyholders are allowed to wait before reporting the accident if they wish to obtain coverage. Cooperate as best you can, but try not to explicitly say who caused the accident, stick to straight-forward facts instead. Before making further statements, you should discuss your options with your car accident attorney.
What should I do if the accident was my fault?
Even if it seems like the accident was caused by something you did or did not do, there could have been other factors at play that you weren’t aware of. Avoid telling anyone that the accident was your fault because you really can’t know for sure whether it was or not. Do not apologize to the other parties involved in the accident, as it can look incriminating, instead ask if they are alright and see if they need medical attention.
What can I be compensated for after an accident?
In an accident, you have a right to seek compensation for medical expenses, physical damages, lost wages, and pain and suffering. While you may need to pay some costs upfront, especially medical bills, you should be reimbursed by either your insurance company, the other driver’s insurance company, and/or the party responsible for your injury. The amount you are compensated and the source of compensation depends on whether or not you file a lawsuit or only seek compensation through insurance claims. Insurance companies won’t usually compensate you for all expenses, so if your damages weren’t covered, a lawsuit might be the next best option.
I wasn’t injured in the accident; do I still need to see a doctor?
Even if you don’t think you are injured, you should always see a doctor after an accident. The adrenaline that circulates through our bodies in an emergency situation can sometimes mask any pains or symptoms of harm, so seeing a medical professional to evaluate your health is always a good idea following any dangerous situation. Make sure you keep a copy of the documents from your visit, as well as any notes from your doctor addressing your injuries.
Who is liable for the accident?
Depending on the circumstances of your crash, there are a number of people or companies who could be liable for the incident. It could be the fault of the other driver, or if a vehicle malfunction caused the accident the manufacturer might be responsible. If poorly maintained roads or construction site hazards caused the accident, those respective companies could be at fault. The circumstances are always different, and no two accidents are exactly the same, which is why it is always best to discuss your situation with an experienced lawyer.
How do I know if I need an attorney?
Even in minor accidents, it is always best to seek guidance from a trusted attorney. Even if you plan to avoid a lawsuit, seeking compensation only from your insurance company, an experienced lawyer can be invaluable. Insurance companies are not on your side, despite how it may appear. A lawyer, on the other hand, is hired specifically to protect your best interests and will be there to offer legal guidance every step of the way. If you wish to seek fair, total compensation for your accident, a lawyer can help you go about filing your insurance claim in the best way.
If you were in a more complex crash where the driver was uninsured, or you suffered significant injuries, an attorney is definitely necessary. A car accident lawyer will help you file insurance claims, investigate the circumstances of your crash, and address your legal concerns.
For help with your car accident case, contact Goeing Goeing & McQuinn PLLC.