So you were just involved in a car crash. And even though your mind is scrambling, you're dizzy and possibly hurt, and your adrenaline is pumping, you want to do your best to ensure that you don't get screwed by the other driver's insurance company or by your own insurance company.
Here are 7 things you can immediately do after a car crash:
1) Get the other driver's information. Make sure to get pictures of the other driver's license, their license plate, and their proof of auto insurance card. Finally, make sure to get their phone number. Securing those photos and gathering all that information will enable your attorney to properly file a claim with the insurance company for the at-fault driver. If you're sure that the crash was the other person's fault, you can even film your conversation with the other driver and say things such as, "Why did you change lanes into my lane without looking?" and if they say things such as "Sorry I didn't see you" or "sorry my bad," the video recording will be great evidence if the other driver later decides to blame you for the accident. Assuming the crash occurs on public property, you do not need the other driver's permission to record the conversation since no one has a reasonable expectation of privacy when he/she is in public.
2) Take Pictures of the Property Damage.If it's safe to do so, snap some pictures of the cars in their original crash positions. Doing so will make it easier to prove that the other driver is at fault for the crash. Property damage photos are also great evidence for showing the severity of a car crash.
3) Identify if there are any Witnesses. If so, get their names and contact information before they leave the scene. In a scenario where there is no video footage and the property damage evidence by itself is insufficient for determining who is at fault such as a T-bone crash at a traffic light intersection, having witnesses who saw who ran the red light and/or who saw who had the right of way is crucial for filing a successful claim against the other driver's auto insurance company. When there are no witnesses around or video footage of the crash, the at-fault driver will be incentivized to lie about what happened. Often times, Good Samaritans will approach the scene of a crash to see if the injured parties need any help. If a Good Samaritan introduces themselves to you, do not let that opportunity go to waste. Ask him/her if they witnessed the crash and if they confirm that they saw the crash, ask for their name and contact information.
4) Call The Police. If a witness has not already called the police, make sure you call 911 to report the crash. The operator will ask you if you need an ambulance. And typically, 911 operators will decide not to send police offers to the scene of the car crash if the 911 caller declines an ambulance. However, if you are hurt, it does not matter whether or not you need an ambulance. You have every right to insist to the 911 operator that they send a police officer to the scene of the crash and good reasons you can give the 911 operator include but are not limited to the following: your car requires a tow, you are injured and require an ambulance ride to the hospital, you are injured but do not require an ambulance or EMT, and you suspect that liability will be contested and you want a police officer to interview the witnesses and gather other crucial pieces of evidence. Do not let the 911 operator blow you off just because you told them that you don't need an ambulance. Insist on having a police officer come to the scene of the crash.
5) Seek Medical Treatment Immediately. Serious car crashes often result in catastrophic injuries. More often than not, car crashes result in moderate injuries. If you are moderately injured, it is perfectly understandable to be apprehensive about who will be paying for your medical bills if you decide to seek medical treatment for your car crash injuries. Such financial worries after a car crash often prevent car crash victims from seeking medical treatment. But doing so is a mistake. You need not worry about that because a good personal injury attorney will happily refer you to a medical provider to treat your car crash injuries and these medical providers do not require the patient to pay any money up front for their medical treatment but the medical provider instead agrees to be paid from the injury settlement. This is called treating patients on a lien. Rather than charge the patient up front for any medical treatment rendered, the medical provider asserts a lien on the patient client's eventual personal injury settlement. While it is natural and normal to be concerned about the costs of seeing a specialist, an orthopedic doctor, a surgeon or a chiropractor, you do not need to worry about documenting your initial injuries by making an appointment to see your primary care physician or checking into the Urgent Care department of your local hospital because these kinds of medical consultations will most likely be covered by your health insurance policy. In fact, if there is an unavoidable delay between the date of the car crash and your retention of a personal injury, it's important that you document your injuries with your primary care physician, even if you have to do so before hiring a personal injury attorney. Do do NOT need your personal injury attorney's permission to make an appointment with your primary care provider in order to document your initial car crash injuries.
6) Do NOT Give a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Adjuster, NOT even your OWN Insurance Adjuster. This point cannot be stressed enough. If you decide to give a recorded statement to either your insurance company or the other driver's auto insurance company, the other driver's insurance company and even your own auto insurance company will twist your words and use them against you. Repeat after me: Despite any entertaining or heartwarming car insurance commercials you may have seen on tv, the auto insurance Companies Are NOT your Friend. They will use any and all excuses available to them to deny compensating you for your medical bills, your injuries, your lost wages, etc. Instead, hire a personal injury attorney and let us handle your auto insurance claim for you.
7) Call US RIGHT Away. We will file the property damage and injury claims with the appropriate auto insurance companies for you so that you don't have to worry about it. And we will introduce you to the medical providers you need to treat your specific injuries so that you can begin the healing process. And finally, we will make sure that you are properly reimbursed and compensated for your property damage, your medical bills, your lost wages, and your pain and suffering.
BONUS TIP: INSTALL A DASH CAM IN YOUR CAR RIGHT NOW.
If you have any questions about what to do after a car crash, please contact us immediately so that we can answer your questions and begin fighting the insurance companies in order to obtain the justice you deserve.