You were just in an accident. You are still at the scene and your head is spinning with all of the instructions you have ever been told about what to do next. Luckily, you pay diligently for your car insurance. Plus, some other insurance company has a really caring advertising campaign about how “you are in good hands”, or something similar.
We see it time and time again at Robert Armstrong Law. Unfortunately, all insurance companies tend to have the same priorities after a car accident: protecting their own interests. Robert Armstrong wants you to know what actions to take to keep yourself safe, your rights intact, and to protect you from insurance companies taking advantage.
Start Protecting Yourself Immediately After a Car Accident
Stay at the Scene and check on all drivers and passengers for safety.
Leaving the scene and/or failing to check on the other people involved can open you up to perhaps baseless allegations from insurance companies and lawyers. You could be accused of a hit-and-run.
2. Exchange information with the other driver and DO NOT APOLOGIZE WHEN YOU ARE NOT AT FAULT.
Obtain information: names, numbers, addresses, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, make/model of vehicles, and basic insurance information. If you do not have any information about the other vehicle or driver, ask the law enforcement officer for the other drivers information. If there are witnesses, request to obtain their name and numbers as well as witnesses can make a big difference in your case.
Never apologize or admit to wrongdoing. It is tempting to apologize for everyone’s stress and worry and/or to reflect on what you could have done to prevent this. Apologizing can make you vulnerable to insurance companies claiming that you have admitted fault.
3. Call Medical Professionals and Police As Needed
If anyone is in need of medical attention call 911 immediately. If anyone is injured and/or there is significant property damage that you even think might lead to an insurance claim, call the police to have them file a police report. Ask for their name and badge information. Insurance companies have a more difficult time wiggling out of their responsibilities when a police report is telling them what happened.
4. Take Pictures
Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and if possible the other vehicle as soon as possible. Ideally, your photos will have a time stamp and will be from the actual scene. If the cars need to be moved to protect against further accidents, that should be the priority, but only move after you have been instructed to do so by the law enforcement officer. If possible try to get pictures from the accident itself. At minimum, try to provide pictures either from the scene and/or of the damages to your vehicle after to your insurance company as soon as possible so that no one can cast doubt on whether the damage to your vehicle was really from the accident.
What next? Insurance Companies are about to get a lot more involved in your case. It is about to be more important than ever that you continue to protect your rights throughout the claims process.
What is the very best way to protect yourself after an accident from insurance companies?
If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident and it wasn’t your fault, the most important thing you can do for yourself or your loved one is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to handle your case. Contact Robert Armstrong’s office today for help.