- Always stop: I know this sounds like something we all should know, however, it’s your LEGAL obligation to do so. Even if you think there was no damage you need to stop. Anytime your vehicle collides with something, you need to stop your car.
- Never admit responsibility for the accident: Did you know that your insurance policy (which is a contract) states that you must not assume responsibility or liability under these circumstances. You have insurance for the purpose of taking care of your claims. Let them decide who’s responsible.
- Call the POLICE: Even in a minor accident it is important to make sure there is a legal accident report. In some states it is a requirement. Once you have contacted the authorities, you would have done your part in protecting your own interests and followed the law.
- BE QUIET: As I shout this to the heavens, please only answer questions that are asked of you by the police officer. Please refrain from “talkitis” the condition of telling too much information. Limit your conversation about the accident with the other party. Only discuss the accident with the police, a medical professional, YOUR insurance representative, and if applicable your attorney.
- Get the facts about your accident: This is the part most people know to do but often forget to do due to the stress of the accident.
a. Get names, address and phone numbers of everyone involved
b. Get a description of the car and license plate number
c. Get the insurance company, VIN and policy numbers
- Take photos: Get photos from a few angles. I even take photos of the scene and/or witnesses, name and badge number of the police officer. the name of the street and cross street/intersections.
- Contact your insurance company: Whether you are at fault or not, you should call them immediately. If you can call them from the scene, it may be even more useful. Sometimes the police officer can give your insurance more accurate information than you can at the time of the accident. Also add Medical Payments onto your policy. Medical Payments is a coverage that helps pay you or your passengers’ medical expenses if you’re injured in a car accident, regardless of who caused the accident. I recommend starting at an amount of $10,000.
- Go to the Emergency Room: Even if you don’t feel anything, still go. There are underlying things that are happening to your body that you may not be aware of.
- Go to the Chiropractor: As a personal injury expert and rehabilitation specialist, a Chiropractor will make sure that they diagnose, treat, and properly document your treatments so that they maximize your settlement. They should also be familiar with going to trial so that they are a great witness for you. The Chiropractor should have detailed records that list the extent and severity of each and every symptom, the treatment provided and the billing information with corresponding dates. It is important too know that even if you do not feel pain immediately that you seek care from a Chiropractor within 24-72 hours after an accident. This will improve the outcome of your healing as well as ensure that a timely claim is made.
- Call an Attorney: A good reputable (yes I said REPUTABLE) attorney that is an expert in going to trial. That would be the first question that I would ask of the attorney is “do you go to trial for Motor Vehicle Accidents and how many have you won.” An attorney’s job is to protect your rights and make sure valuable evidence is not destroyed. Remember insurance companies have lawyers on staff. I here all the time in my practice from patients that they don’t want to give an attorney any of their money. However, look at it like this, $5000 by yourself or two-thirds of 30,000. I am not an attorney and I cannot guarantee your settlement amount.