Below is a detailed motor vehicle accident checklist that can be printed out and put in your vehicle in case of an accident or emergency:
STOP. Failure to do so is a crime. Safety is the first concern – yours and others on the roadway; use flares or flags if necessary. If the property damages are relatively minor, and you can do so safely, move your car to the side of the roadway.
MEDICAL HELP. Assist anyone who might be injured; call 911 for an ambulance if necessary.
CALL THE POLICE.
IDENTIFICATION. Identify yourself to the other driver, giving them your name, address and insurance information; show them your driver’s license and/or insurance card if requested. Ask the other driver for the same information.
DISCUSSION. Do not discuss details with anyone; cooperate with the police, but only provide basic facts and not opinions.
RESPONSIBILITY. DO NOT admit responsibility or liability for the accident. Who is ‘at fault’ is oftentimes not as easy a question as it might seem. Even if the police officer identifies you or the other driver as ‘at fault’ your best move is to politely deny responsibility.
WITNESSES. Get names and addresses of any witnesses. If you don’t get them at the scene, you possibly never will.
TAKE NOTES. If you can’t take notes at the scene, take them as soon as possible after the accident. If you can’t write the important things down, get someone close to you to do it for you. Memories fade and exactly what someone said or did or exactly where the cars or some object may have been will likely become important later.
DO NOT LEAVE THE SCENE until you have assisted any injured people at the scene to the best of your ability; the police have made their report; you have identified the other driver(s) and obtained their names, contact information, and insurance information; and obtained the names and contact information of any witnesses.
SEE A DOCTOR. You should always get checked out by a doctor after an accident. Oftentimes, serious injuries do not become immediately evident. Sometimes it isn’t until the next day or the day after that you feel symptoms develop. If you are injued in the collision, see a doctor immediately.
CALL YOUR INSURANCE AGENT. Regardless of who is at fault and as soon as possible following the accident, you should call your insurance representative and notify them of the accident. Some insurance companies may deny any obligation to pay any benefits if you do not notify them promptly.
TAKE PICTURES. You need to take quality photographs, preferably on a good digital camera, not on a cell phone camera if you can help it. Take photographs of the physical damage to your vehicle and to any other vehicle involved in the collision. Take photos of the scene of the collision. Take photos of your visible injuries. Bruises fade and swelling goes away over time. It is important for you to be able to demonstrate the extent of your injuries later on.
DOCUMENT YOUR INJURIES. Keep a diary and record by date the ways in which the collision has affected your life such restricting your ability to work, perform your favorite pastime or hobby, interact with your family and friends, or to simply live your life to the fullest extent possible.
CALL THE POPE LAW FIRM. Even if you’re not sure whether you or the other driver will file an insurance claim, the sooner you call us the better off you will be. Your initial consultation is free, and we can provide you with advice and counsel on how to properly respond to inquiries from insurance adjusters and/or attorneys representing the other driver.
For more information regarding your rights and responsibilities following an automobile accident, please call us at 770-786-1095 or visit our website at www.gregpopelaw.com.