Rachel E. Scott
10 Tips on What to do Right Away When You are in a Car Accident
Updated: Jan 8, 2020
Here are some simple things to do and not do when you are in a car accident to help you get well and increase your chances of getting a fair settlement.
1. Call the police
Make sure they come out to the accident scene and file a police report.
2. Get information at the scene of the accident
Be sure to take pictures of the damage to your car and the other car, if possible. Use your cell phone or keep a disposable camera in your car. Take pictures of the license plates of the other vehicle. Get insurance and other contact information from the other driver. Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses.
3. Go to the doctor as soon as possible
If you are really hurt, go to the emergency room of your local hospital. You can be transported either by an ambulance or call a friend. If you are not really hurt, make sure you see a doctor (M.D.) as soon as you can: at least within a day or two of the accident. You can see other practitioners later (chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists) but having an M.D. in the beginning is very helpful. They can refer you to other medical providers.
4. Give an accounting of your injuries to your doctor
At the doctor's office or emergency room, make sure to give a head-to-toe accounting of your injuries. Do not leave anything out. You would be amazed by how many times a seemingly minor injury in the beginning ends up being the major cause of pain later. If it's not documented right away, the at-fault party will likely claim it is unrelated later. Also, take pictures of any bruising or contusions as they appear.
5. Notify your insurance company
Contact your insurance and the at-fault party's insurance to notify them of the collision. You are obligated to give a statement to your insurance, but you are not obligated to give one to the at-fault party's insurance.
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