Let’s face it, auto accidents happen. When they do they can be frightening and confusing; emotions run high and it is easy to forget the important information that you need to ensure the legal process goes smoothly. These five steps break down exactly what you need to remember by preparing you with an auto accident checklist. Go ahead, write these down, and keep this detailed list glove box ready for the worst.
Auto Accident Checklist:
At this point in your auto accident, “what to do” is probably on your mind. First things first, you need to evaluate the accident scene. This is your first line of defense; prepare your notepad for observation and triage.
Step 1: Safety First
As soon as the dust settles, take safety measures. We cannot stress this enough. Approximately 12% of all interstate highway deaths are pedestrians in the roadway or on the shoulder. (Source) Try your best to move the vehicle as far off the roadway as possible and break out your auto accident kit, flares, cones, etc. Don’t become a statistic, take action and set out roadside flares to warn other motorists and don’t forget to turn on your hazards!
Step 2: Call Emergency Services
Once you have established a safe zone for those involved in the accident, call 911. Calmly advise the operator that you have been involved in an accident, explain the situation and your location, they will handle the rest. The operator will dispatch the police to obtain information and possibly prepare an auto accident police report and, if necessary, send an ambulance.
Information Collection Stage
You might be rattled by the accident but it’s time to keep a cool head and get down to the business of collecting vital information for your auto accident report. This information might be used by your auto accident injury lawyer and by your insurance company, so take your time and document all you can.
Step 3: Exchange Information
Misery loves company, right? Get to know the other driver involved. You will need their name, address, and telephone number. In addition to personal information, you will need the license tag, make, model, and year of the other vehicle involved. Remember, the owner of the vehicle is not always the one driving, be sure to double-check all your information. This information will be valuable to your auto accident injury lawyer.
Step 4: Document the Scene for Your Auto Accident Report
Time to channel your inner photographer. Take out your camera phone and start snapping. Take pictures of all the automobiles involved in the accident. Take pictures of the damages and even take pictures of the roadway, you might have to explain the scenario to an insurance provider or provide information for an auto accident police report. While you’re taking pictures, avoid making any comments about the scene. Do not admit fault or make accusations. Silence is key.
Everything is starting to settle, you’re more composed and your emotions have tapered off. Now it’s time to take action toward recovery and start your auto accident claim process. In most scenarios, this process is settled solely with the insurance company.
Step 5: Contact Your Insurance and an Auto Accident Injury Lawyer
You’ve documented the scene, collected all necessary information, and now you’re ready to file your insurance claim. Start by calling your insurance company with information about the accident. Do not give a recorded statement to the other party’s insurance carrier. Contact a personal injury attorney to help you with this. Dealing with insurance carriers can be tricky and confusing. Deciding who is at fault is complicated enough, a lawyer will fight for you and answer all the complicated questions that come along with this process.
What if the motorist is uninsured and cannot pay for my auto accident damages?
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is always a part of your auto insurance. This coverage ensures that you are covered under the insurance policy of the at-fault driver.
What if the person who hits me flees the scene?
If you have been injured by the negligence of a hit-and-run driver in Maryland, you might be able to recover damages under your own insurance policy’s uninsured motorist provision. Don’t be held responsible for auto accident medical bills for which you aren’t liable! Contact legal counsel today to begin the auto accident claim process.