After a car accident, it can be difficult to think straight, no matter how severe the collision was. This makes it difficult to remember what documentation and evidence you need to gather. Still, you need to do your best to keep your head on straight to get as much detailed information as possible about the accident. This is a necessary step because one of your priorities following an accident is direct communication with your insurer. Since they may end up being responsible for awarding you compensation for damages and injuries, your insurance company is one of the first authorities you need to contact immediately following a car accident.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Immediately following a car accident, you must gather as much information about the scene as possible so you can call and accurately report the incident to your insurer. Document the people present, environmental conditions, and everything that happened immediately before, during, and after the incident. You need also to take photos of the vehicles from as many angles as possible (you can record video as well). All this information is going to be given straight to your insurance company as you open a new claim. You can also obtain a police report for an objective third-party account of your accident.
In addition to the above, there is additional information you will need to provide your insurer to include:
- Personal information (name, address, phone number) of any other drivers and passengers involved in the accident
- The date, time, and place of the accident
- The make, model, year, and color of the other vehicles involved (your insurer will already have information on your vehicle)
You must also inform your insurance company of what authorities, if any, responded to the collision. For instance, if the state highway patrol came to assist you and the other vehicle(s), you must disclose this to the insurer.
What Not to Do When Speaking to Your Insurer
When you are speaking to your insurance company, you must avoid any explicit or implicit admissions of guilt. The best way to steer clear of this is to give only the facts of the accident. Try not to do any speculating, rather, recount the incident as plainly as possible. The implication of guilt will likely work against you as you seek compensation for damages, and your (or the other party’s) insurer will be quick to take advantage of it to avoid a payout.
You must also avoid speculating about injuries you are not yet sure of (soreness or sprains), while also being clear about any open wounds or fractures that are immediately apparent. If you are unsure of whether you have sustained whiplash, a sprain, or other complications, wait until you see a medical professional and obtain formal documentation to discuss this with your insurance company.
Through all of this, you need the security of having an experienced accident attorney by your side. They will help to give your insurance company the exact information they need to appropriately defend you if you’ve become injured or incurred damages due to an auto accident.