After the Accident: What to Do, What to Remember
Auto accidents are a fact of life – if you haven’t been in one yet, chances are you’ll be involved in one sometime in your life. Hopefully, it’ll be a minor fender bender – but even those can be alarming. You may feel shaken up, jittery, even if there were no serious injuries. But it’s important to think clearly and stay calm. Keep a copy of this list in your glove compartment to make sure you do and say the right things in case you’re ever involved in an auto accident.
1) Stop in a safe place
You should always stop after any accident, no matter how small. If your car can be moved, get it to the safest place possible, whether that’s the shoulder of the highway or the side of the street. If your car can’t be moved, get to a safe place yourself, in case another car hits yours. Turn on your hazard lights.
2) Call the police
If there are any injuries, call 911 immediately. If there are no injuries, by law you still need to report the accident to law enforcement. Your insurance company may also require it.
3) Exchange information
Get the other driver’s key information, including:
- Phone number
- Driver’s license number
- Insurance company and policy number
- License plate number
If the driver’s name is different from the name on the insurance policy, make sure you note the relationship between them.
4) Don’t admit guilt or discuss the accident with the other driver
While you should comply with law enforcement and be courteous, don’t admit guilt at the scene even if you think the accident was your fault. Simply don’t discuss it. If the other driver tries, tell them that you’re only going to talk to your attorney.
5) Document the accident as best you can
If you have a camera, take pictures of the cars involved and the environment. If you don’t have a camera, draw a picture of how the accident happened, and write down your own account of what happened as soon as possible, since you may forget details later. If there were witnesses, get their names and contact info, even if you think law enforcement already has them. Make a note of environmental factors like foliage, traffic signals, potholes, road signs, skid marks – anything that seems related to the accident.
6) Contact your insurance company
Regardless of how minor the accident was, report it to your insurance company as soon as possible. Most companies require this. Don’t talk to the other driver’s insurance company, however, or make a statement to the other driver’s attorney, if he hires one, without consulting an attorney yourself.
7) Contact an attorney
If you were injured in the accident, or if symptoms begin to appear afterwards, contact an attorney. At Jacobs & Goodman:
- The initial consultation is always free.
- You always get an attorney, never a case manager like at other firms.
- We take a personal interest in your case, and help you through every aspect, including helping you deal with medical leans and debts.
- We work on a contingency basis, which means if we don’t win your case, you don’t pay.
- We’re motor vehicle collision experts. We have handled thousands of auto insurance cases successfully. We’re also recognized experts in every aspect of Florida’s “no-fault” law.