If You Have Been in an Accident:
Call the police immediately. If the vehicles are not blocking traffic, leave the vehicles where they are until the police arrive. You should also obtain some information from the other driver. Be sure to get the following:
- Full name;
- Driver’s license number;
- Home, work, and mobile telephone numbers;
- Vehicle license number;
- Insurance company name and policy number; and
- Witness names, addresses, and phone numbers.
If possible, be sure to take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, and the accident scene itself. That should be done as soon as is practical because scenes change quickly due to the time of day and the weather conditions.
Notify your insurance company as soon as possible, even if the other person is at fault. You should deal with your own insurance company if you have collision insurance. Your insurance company owes you a duty of good faith to promptly and fairly settle your property damage claim. If you are not at fault, your insurance rates should not rise and your insurance company will likely get the other driver’s insurance company to reimburse the deductible costs.
See a doctor immediately, even if you do not feel symptoms right away. Many injuries stemming from motor vehicle accidents do not manifest themselves until later. Seeing a doctor will ensure a permanent record of potential injuries related to the accident. In addition, if there is any visible evidence of your injuries, such as bruising or scarring, or if you are placed in a cast or brace, have someone take pictures of you. These pictures may be used as admissible evidence to the prove the extent of your injuries, should your case ultimately result in a trial.
What not to do
Do not give any statements, orally or written, to the other driver’s insurance carrier. The other driver’s insurance carrier can get a copy of your statement and the report from your insurance company.
Do not sign any authorization agreement sent by the other driver’s insurance company. Often, the agreement authorizes the other carrier to review any medical and employment records about you. You have the right to ask the other driver’s insurance company to identify the specific records it wants. In turn, you may be required to produce only those records pertinent to your case.
Do not settle your claim prematurely. And, perhaps most importantly, do not exaggerate the extent of your damage or injuries. When the truth is discovered (and it typically is), you will have hurt your chances of obtaining a meaningful recovery.
If you have been in an accident and suffered serious injury, or if a family member or loved one has suffered catastrophic injury or wrongful death, please contact us for a free consultation at (561) 671-1920. We would be happy to help guide you through the complicated insurance maze. And we will fight to obtain the maximum recovery on your behalf.