With over 25,000 auto accidents in Pinellas County every year, knowing what to do when you’re a victim of a car accident is essential in any successful insurance claim. Contacting an Auto Accident Attorney will significantly boost your chances of winning the compensation you deserve and help guide you through a stressful time.
Consider your Health
First and foremost, think about your health. If you need emergency medical care, seek to receive it immediately. Also, never stall in visiting the doctors in the days after the accident. If you’re suffering any pain, get it checked out.
Insurance companies will look for any excuse to claim you weren’t actually injured in the crash. Any gap or delay since the accident could potentially allow insurers to say you were injured after the accident. Injuries are not always as minor as they seem at first, so don’t neglect a visit to your doctor.
Contact Law Enforcement
If you don’t need to receive medical attention immediately, then contact law enforcement. Police officers can be on the scene swiftly, and their reports can later provide crucial evidence for your claim.
Don’t Make Handshake Agreements
No matter how genuine and kind the other driver seems, do not rely on their word or admittance of responsibility. They may well change their mind soon after.
Your insurance company doesn’t care for handshake agreements, as they’re not a party in that agreement and not bound to it. You need evidence and facts, not the other person’s word.
Document the Accident
Any successful claim needs clear evidence and documents that support your position. Police tend to miss information or lose reports, and that means you need to document the scene yourself.
Fortunately, with smartphones, you can quickly do an extensive documentation job yourself. Remember to take photos of:
- The vehicles in detail
- Surrounding damage
- The condition of the roads and guard rails
- The position of the incident in relation to the road
- Any damage to personal items
- Any injuries to yourself
It’s also important to write down:
- What you saw happen
- The address
- The time and date
- The other driver’s contact details, name and address
- Current injuries and pain
Get Witness Statements
Police may fail to report witness statements, so it is always helpful to speak to anyone nearby who saw the accident and record what they say. If you can, use your phone to get an audio recording; if not then make a note of their name and write down exactly what they claim to have seen.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Once law enforcement has arrived and you’re safe, then contact your insurer. Letting them know about the incident as soon as possible puts you in a strong position with your claim going forward. Insurers may trick you into admitting responsibility, so be careful not to admit that you consider yourself at fault for the accident.
Do NOT send any recorded statements to the other party’s insurer until you have contacted a lawyer. The other person’s insurance company will only be looking to fool you into giving evidence that can be used against you.
Although you need to be careful with what you say, you have to be truthful with your statements. That includes with the doctor. If you give them information such as the level of pain you’re suffering and that contradicts another statement, then you’re setting yourself up for a difficult claim.
Contact an Attorney
By contacting an Auto Accident Attorney you’ll be given guidance on what steps to take next, so you can help make a successful claim. They’ll tackle the complexities of insurance companies and know exactly how to plan a claim that can deliver success.
An Auto Accident Attorney is almost always going to be taking on insurance companies and the negligent party’s policy, rather than taking any action against people themselves.