Being in a car collision is a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you have never been in one before. Being prepared with information on what to do after a collision BEFORE any collision occurs, is important. Following are important things to do if you have been in a car collision:
- Make sure you and others are out of harms way. If you or others are injured, wait for emergency medical services to arrive on scene to assist you in getting out of your vehicle. If your vehicle is in the middle of the roadway and/or unable to be moved, do not sit in your vehicle waiting for the proper authorities to arrive IF you can safely exit the vehicle. Instead, if possible, make your way to a safe area at the side of the roadway until authorities arrive. Your health and safety are priority number one;
- Call emergency services (911). Whether or not you or another party is injured, make sure to report the collision. By reporting the collision, the details of the event will be formally documented. Frequently, the versions of the facts by involved parties can change in the hours or days following a collision. So it is important to have an investigating officer make notations of the parties' description of the circumstances of the collision in their records;
- Exchange information with other parties. This information exchange includes writing down or getting pictures of drivers license, insurance information, license plate numbers, names and phone numbers of all parties involved. If there are witnesses to the collision, be sure to obtain their contact information. Most people have cell phones these days so be sure to use it at the scene (if you are physically able) to gather information to help your case, as needed, in the future;
- Take pictures of all damage. Take pictures of your vehicle inside and out, all other parties vehicles involved in the collision, the surrounding roadway in which the collision occurred (including skid marks) and any other property that was damaged due to the collision (i.e. trees, signs, fences, etc.);
- File claim(s) with your own insurance company and with the at-fault party's insurance. Many times people are uncertain if they have coverages that would apply in the case of a collision caused by someone else. So it is best to make a call to your insurance carrier to determine if there are coverages that will help you. For instance, Medical Payment coverage is primary coverage for medical expenses arising from a collision (even above health insurance). Though this is an option coverage, if you have this coverage, you have paid a premium for it so it behooves you to use it, if needed. When calling either company (yours or the at-fault party's insurance) be sure to have all of the exchanged information ready (especially first/last names of the involved parties, policy numbers, etc);
- Seek medical treatment. While some people experience pain from their injuries at the scene, commonly people do not realize that they have been injured until the shock and adrenaline of a collision wears off revealing symptoms. It is very important that you follow up with a medical provider (eg. emergency room, urgent care, primary care physician, chiropractor, physical therapist, etc.) as soon as feasible following a collision to document any and all injuries that may be due to the collision. Failure to do so provides the insurance company with an opportunity to argue that your injuries are not related to the subject collision; and
- Contact an attorney. Reaching out to an attorney soon after your collision occurred is the best way to protect yourself and ensure that your claims are properly handled. Statistically, injured parties collect substantially more when represented by counsel. The insurance carrier(s) have staff that are trained to minimize their risk exposure on claims. Trying to handle a claim on your own against the insurance professionals trained to poke holes in claims can be difficult and stressful. The staff at Travis Legal Offices, LLC strives to help you minimize that stress so that you can concentrate on getting well. We are experienced in dealing with insurance companies and the legalities involved with collisions . Let us help you so that you can focus on your medical recovery.