The pandemic has changed how police and law enforcement agencies are responding to certain types of auto accidents. It also means that drivers and passengers need to take extra precautions, such as wearing masks and maintaining social distance, while also making sure that the injured are cared for and appropriate evidence and insurance information are collected.
It’s important to be prepared and know what to do in case you find yourself involved in an accident. The minutes immediately following a collision are undeniably stressful; knowing in advance what you need to do can help make a difficult situation more manageable.
As always, your priority during an accident should be to determine if anyone has been injured and getting them help. Call 911 if necessary, so law enforcement and emergency medical personnel can be dispatched to the scene. Seek medical attention if you feel you or your passengers may have been injured. Keep in mind that not all injuries are evident immediately after the accident. It’s better to err on the side of caution than to find out later that you’ve sustained an injury.
At this time, some law enforcement agencies may not be responding to minor accidents with no apparent serious injuries. But this doesn’t mean you should leave the scene without collecting important evidence and information from everyone involved and any witnesses.
The camera on your phone is a handy tool for capturing photos of the scene and the cars, as well as some of these documents. Make sure your phone is charged whenever you get into your car.
Use your phone to:
- Take photos of all cars involved to document the position and damages. Make sure your photos include the license plates of all cars involved.
- Take a photo of the drivers’ licenses of all drivers involved.
- Get the phone numbers and addresses for each person at the scene including witnesses.
- Take a photo of the registration and insurance card for all cars involved.
While you’re at the scene, make notes and take as many pictures as possible to document what happened while it’s all fresh in your mind. Such documentation can go a long way toward supporting your side of the story should your case find its way into a courtroom.
Even if police don’t respond to the accident scene, you can still file an official police report after the fact. The evidence you collect at the scene will be very important during this process. Insurance companies generally require that there be a police report on file to even consider your claim.
Make sure to call your insurance company to report the accident. Your insurance company will want to know about the accident no matter which driver was at fault. Calling early helps make you look responsible in the eyes of the insurance company. In addition, most claims have a time limit for filing in order to be paid a settlement.
Limit your remarks to the facts. Don’t offer your opinion or express guilt for the accident. It’s easy to say things you may not mean in the stress of the moment. For this reason, it’s important not to admit guilt or offer any opinions about the accident while you’re at the scene.
Call a lawyer if there’s an indication of injury, either with someone in your car or the other vehicle. Enlisting the aid of a good accident attorney is a good idea in any serious accident. In fact, it’s imperative when there are injuries involved. A skilled personal injury lawyer can help you collect the money you need to pay medical bills and support your family until you’re able to work again.
Stay at the scene of the accident until the other parties and the police are ready to leave. You never want to leave the scene of the accident without reporting it or checking to see if the other party is hurt. If you’ve been injured in an auto or motorcycle accident, we’re here to help. Contact the Deuterman Law Group today for a free consultation.