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When you are hit by another vehicle many of us will not remember the basic auto accident checklist of what to do. We at Doran, Beam & Farrell have a simple word to assist you:
Steps to Take After a Car Accident:
You've just gotten into a wreck. The first thing you want to do is see if anyone is injured. If you are hurt, stay in the vehicle and call for help. If you have other occupants in the car that are unharmed, let them follow through with the next few critical steps.
Call the police right away, unless you are in a private parking lot. The police will not issue a ticket or make a detailed police report when the accident happens on private property.
While the police are great at looking at an accident and figuring out what happened, they do make mistakes. Be sure and follow through with the next steps to protect yourself from these mistakes because the diagrams they draw on the reports are not always the way the accident happened.
Res Gestae is a statement made spontaneously. In other words, at the accident scene don't jump out of your car and say you are sorry and it's your fault before you have a chance to see if they ran a light or were driving recklessly. Why? If you come back later and say you weren't at fault, the statements made at the scene (res gestae) can be held against you. It's best to not argue with anyone and exchange information while waiting for the authorities to arrive.
While waiting for the police, someone who is not injured should be using their cell phone to take pictures of the cars. If you don't carry a cell phone, you should keep a disposable camera in the glove compartment.
Try and do this before anyone moves the vehicles. Showing how the accident happened, and where the cars landed can sometimes tell the story of who is right and who was at fault.
Besides photos of the car position and damages, you should try and take pictures of the area and street signs, if available. You can also use the camera on your phone to take a photo of the other party's driver's license and insurance information.
Check for witnesses. Sometimes, people will stop and let you know they have seen the accident, but most people won't. Look to see if anyone is outside in their yard looking your way. If so, try and talk to them and see if they saw anything. If they witnessed the accident, be sure and get their name and phone number. Also, let the police officer know about the witness. They may be needed for a statement later on.
The sixth and seventh steps are for after you've left the scene of the accident. First and foremost, if you received any injuries, keep the medical bills you may incur, even if your insurance pays them all. They are still good proof of your injuries.
There are times you may feel perfectly fine right after an accident, but the next day you may realize you have a problem. Soreness or other injuries may be showing up and you decide a trip to the doctor is needed after all. Getting checked out is always a good thing to do after being in an accident.
What about settlements? Once an insurance company wants to settle with you for your damages, you need to be sure that you will incur no future expenses for which you will be responsible.
Many people aren't aware that you can settle for the property damage without releasing the bodily injury part of the claim. If you haven't been released by your doctor, then you certainly don't want to settle for the bodily injury part of the claim. It's best to hold that claim open until you are sure you are well and through with treatment.
You may want to settle up quickly on the property damage so that you can be back on the road again, whether in your car or a new one you have purchased. Make sure the insurance company will furnish you a rental car while yours is in the shop if your insurance policy covers it.
When it comes to property damage, some insurance companies want you to get three estimates, then they will pay you based on the lowest estimate. However, other insurance companies will take care of the estimate and pay for repairs without you having to jump through hoops and time-consuming estimate hunting.
In fact, the insurance company may send an appraiser to your home, which is extremely convenient.
If you have injuries that are life-threatening or even semi-serious, you may want to consult an attorney and let them handle all the negotiations for you. Attorneys are updated on all the latest traffic laws and will always handle things in your best interest. Also, an attorney will do all the talking for you, thus protecting you from saying something damaging to your case.
Now that you know the first steps to take after an accident, you may want to print them out and keep them in your vehicle as a reminder. You never know when you may be involved in an accident.
The best way to avoid an accident is to always pay attention and drive defensively. Defensive drivers are alert to their surroundings and the vehicles and other obstacles in their path.
These first steps to take after an accident will give you the knowledge you need to relieve much of the stress of an accident.
Check to see if you or your passengers are injured. If there is any indication of injury or pain, call for medical help. If possible, check the other drivers. Immediately dial 911 and summon the police to the scene of the accident – regardless of whether there are injuries. Do not buy into the other driver’s promise to settle up later.
Get names and addresses of any independent witnesses. If possible, quickly obtain all information about the other drivers involved. Get names, car license numbers, driver’s license numbers and insurance information. Witnesses can make the difference in your case.
Look at the accident scene. Note where your car is located and where other cars are located. Look to see if anything else could have contributed or caused the accident. Look for pieces of the vehicles. Write down your impressions as soon as possible.
Use a camera or your cell phone to take photos. Capture the moment in pictures. Be sure to take photos of the damage to their cars as well as the scene.
Afterwards, contact Doran, Beam & Farrell at (727) 810-3347 to help guide you through your injury claim. We are available 24/7.
Doran, Beam & Farrell – Attorneys You Can Talk To!
Contact Doran, Beam & Farrell
Serving the Community
Our services extend to all of the Tampa Bay area. We are conveniently located in Pasco county with easy access from the following communities:
Aripeka, Bayonet Point, Beacon Square, Crystal Springs, Dade City, Elfers, Holiday, Hudson, Jasmine Estates, Lacoochee, Land O' Lakes, New Port Richey, Odessa, Port Richey, Saint Leo, San Antonio, Shady Hills, Trilby, Trinity, Wesley Chapel, and Zephyrhills.
Doran, Beam & Farrell PA
6641 Madison Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652