Not everyone can keep a clear head in an auto accident but having a mental checklist ahead of time can help. Here are a few suggestions to consider keeping in the back of your mind.
#1 Call the police.
You don’t want to leave any accident without having a police report. No matter how obvious fault might appear (and you might even be lucky enough to have eye witnesses), if you’ve read our other blogs, you know that insurance companies will simply claim otherwise. This can still happen with a police report but, if the case goes to trial, you’ll have important evidence you need.
#2 If you are injured, let someone know right away.
The police might arrive first but, if not, have someone call 911 and let them know you need medical attention.
#3 Even if you think you are not seriously injured, accept the medical attention of police or first responders.
Often, auto accident victims are in shock and do not recognize they are injured. Sometimes it can be soft tissue but, other times, people will try to walk around with broken bones. Shock will do funny things so don’t try to be tough. Get checked out.
#4 Take pictures.
If you are seriously injured, it might not work for you to do this on your own. If you have a friend nearby or an uninjured passenger, get pictures of the scene and damages.
#5 Whether you are treated at the hospital or your doctor’s office, make sure you answer the provider’s questions thoroughly and honestly.
If you are unsure about any question being asked of you, ask for clarification. At this point, all of your statements are very important.
This short list is just the beginning.
Obviously, there will be other “to do” lists as far as administrative protocols. You’ll need to exchange information and determine whether all drivers have insurance. If injuries prevent you from doing all of these things at the scene, this can be arranged later, but it is best to get that information early. Additionally, if there were eye witnesses, try to collect names and contact information.
You will also need to be aware of important post-accident pitfalls with insurance adjusters calling and wanting recorded statements as well as a mess of medical provider bills that begin piling up. The post-accident period is when things can get really messy! Keep an eye out for the “What to do post-accident” blog and learn more!
If you have been in an accident, feel free to visit one of our offices for a free consultation to discuss your case. We have an offices in Bremerton and Gig Harbor for your convenience. If you are seriously injured, we can also come to you.