This may sound self-explanatory, however, one should be reminded NEVER to leave the scene of an accident, no matter how minor. The vehicles should remain where they are and you should either stay in the vehicle or just outside of tit.
Even if there are no serious injuries and it is not a major accident, it is a good idea to call the police. You may need a police report to file a claim with your insurance company, even if it is just to make a claim for damage to your vehicle. Further, a police report will help make a record of the facts surrounding the accident. In the report, always be truthful—never speculate or guess what happened. If medical attention is needed for anyone on the scene, let the dispatcher know when calling the police or 911.
If possible, you should take pictures of the vehicles if there is visible damage. If you have visible injuries, you should photograph them as well.
If the police do not respond to the accident, you should obtain the name, address and telephone number of all persons involved in the accident, drivers and passengers alike. You should also obtain insurance information for all vehicles involved. If there are any witnesses, you should get information from them as well so that you or your attorney can contact them in the future. If police respond to the accident, the investigating officer usually will provide all drivers with a police report number. You can use that number later to obtain the police report. Make sure to know what agency investigated the accident (local police, sheriff, or highway patrol).
Notify YOUR insurance company as soon as possible. Many policies require immediate reporting and full cooperation. Typically, your insurance card will have a toll-free number to call for accident reporting. Check with your insurer to find out what benefits are available through your policy. Some policies carry “medpay” provisions that may help in paying any medical bills you may incur.
Many times, injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents are not immediately apparent, mostly due to the stress and adrenaline rush from being in an accident. May people report feeling the most pain a day or two following an automobile accident. Unless you are absolutely certain you were not injured, you should seek medical attention at your local emergency room, urgent care, or family physician. Even minor accidents can cause serious and permanent injury to your spinal cord. Closed head injuries sometimes result from minor accidents as well.
Keep all your accident-related documents and information in a file. This file should include a claim number, the claim adjuster who is handling the claim for both your insurance company and the other drivers involved, names and phone numbers of all contacts and witnesses. Keep any expenses such as a rental car or medical related expenses in this file.
Perhaps the most important thing you should do after an accident is to consult an experienced personal injury attorney. They can protect your rights and make sure valuable evidence is not destroyed. It is common for the adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company to want to get a recorded statement as soon as possible after the accident. It is imperative that you have received legal advice before providing such a statement. Your attorney can help you navigate all of the issues surrounding a personal injury claim ranging from how to make sure you are fully compensated for your vehicle, how to make sure you are getting the best medical treatment available, and adequate compensation for your injuries. The attorneys at Cantor Injury Law have 30 years of experience doing just that. If you have been in accident, contact us immediately at 314-628-9999 (St. Louis) or 573-240-9999 (Columbia).