What to Do After You Get Into a Car Accident
While so many car accidents seem to happen on Phoenix roads as to be an everyday occurrence (especially on I-10 during rush hour), they are traumatic, life-changing events for the unfortunate individuals involved. Here’s a laundry list of tips to follow if you ever find yourself in this situation. For further information, click here and we’ll send you our free ebook on car accidents. And if you think you need an attorney to guide you through this process, give us a call today.
- Of course, the first thing you need to do in any accident is make sure everyone is okay. Check the occupants of your car first. If you or any of your passengers are hurt, do not move (them) and call an ambulance. If it’s a minor accident, pull over to the shoulder so you’re not blocking traffic.
- Once you’ve taken care of the passengers in your car, check on the occupants of the other car. Call an ambulance for them if necessary. Do NOT argue with the other driver about who was at fault. If the other driver is agitated or aggressive, call 911.
- Call the police if someone is hurt, complains about being hurt, or at least one car is totaled. In these scenarios, do NOT apologize and do NOT admit guilt. Simply check to make sure everyone is out of danger and wait for the police to arrive.
- Use your phone to document as much as you can about the scene of the accident. Get photos of:
- Damage to both cars from multiple angles;
- Skid marks on the road;
- Traffic lights, yield signs, lane changes, etc.
- Write down or take pictures of the insurance information of the other driver and the drivers’ licenses of all the occupants of the other car.
- Write down the names and contact information of any bystanders who witnessed the accident.
- Be courteous while interacting with the occupants of the other car, but NEVER admit fault and NEVER sign anything they present to you.
- NEVER accept money in lieu of the other driver’s information.
- After the incident has been resolved, contact your insurance company to report the accident. If the other driver’s insurance company contacts you first, do NOT talk to them. Be sure to talk with your insurance representative before talking with theirs.
- Your insurance company will negotiate with the other party’s insurance company. They will use the photo evidence you have taken along with witness statements and (if necessary) the police report to determine who was at fault.
- If the insurance companies determine the accident was the other driver’s fault, they may offer to write you a check for your injuries and the damage to your vehicle (which will be paid by the other driver’s insurance).
- If, on the other hand, the insurance companies determine you were at fault, any property damage you caused will be paid by your own insurance.
- Once you come to terms with the insurance companies, you are barred from any further recovery. Therefore, you should always contact an attorney who specializes in auto accidents BEFORE agreeing to ANY settlement offer so you can be sure you are getting the recovery you deserve.
- If you are severely injured, if the accident resulted in someone’s death, or your attorney tells you that the insurance company’s settlement offer is unfair, you are entitled to sue for what you deserve.
- Note that if you do not file your suit within two years of the date of the accident (or within two years of the date you became aware of the injuries from the accident, if they were not immediately obvious), you will lose your opportunity to sue.
A Good Car Accident Lawyer Makes All the Difference
We know that after going through a serious car accident, trying to find an attorney is probably one of the last things you want to deal with. But it shouldn’t be. We can guide you through this difficult process so you can focus on recovering as best as possible. Our team at Gillespie Shields is ready to fight for you to ensure you get the recovery you deserve. We won’t back down if an insurance company tries to pressure you to settle for less, and we are not afraid to take your case to trial if necessary.
For more information about how we can help you, please schedule a consultation with us today.