If you’ve been involved in a car accident, there are a few steps you should immediately take, including speaking with a Central Phoenix, Arizona car accident lawyer:
1. Remain Calm
When someone puts you and your family in harm’s way, it is easy to let your emotions get the best of you. But getting angry is not productive or helpful in the aftermath of an accident. Don’t be aggressive or confront any of the other parties involved. Don’t chase a car or person trying to flee the scene. And don’t admit fault. Even if it was obviously your fault, do not admit so and do not profusely apologize. Remain calm, help others in need, and wait for the authorities to arrive and make a report. Do be honest when giving a statement to the police, but avoid phrases like “It was all my fault”. Such statements may damage any potential insurance claim.
2. Call the Police
This goes for both minor fender benders and 10 car pile-ups. If there has been any sort of accident, you’ll want the police to come and make a report. In some states, not reporting an accident can be considered an offense. Plus, the police officer wasn’t in the accident and isn’t experiencing the same intense emotions as you, so they are able to better document details you might forget, like the weather, road conditions, witnesses, etc. In this way, a police report can help strengthen property damage or personal injury claim.
3. Gather Evidence
Gathering evidence is a big step in the process of making a legal claim, and the earlier you start the better.
- Other Driver’s Information: Make sure to get, at a minimum, the following information from the other driver(s) involved: Name, Address, Phone Number, License Plate Number, Insurance Card Information, Make and Model of Car.
- Photo/Video: Get shots of the cars involved, the weather conditions, the road conditions, even a bank sign that might indicate date and time.
- Witnesses: Did any bystanders witness the accident? Ask if the witnesses would be willing to provide their contact information and give statements to the police.
- Police/Accident Report: A police report can help strengthen property damage or personal injury claim.
4. Seek Medical Treatment
Injuries sustained from a car accident have a sneaky way of going undetected, only to pop up a few days, weeks, or months later. It is best to be seen by a medical professional right away, whether that is a paramedic on the scene, your primary care doctor, or a trip to the hospital in an ambulance. The most important thing is your health and well-being. But keep in mind that if you intend on pursuing a personal injury claim, you’ll need medical records proving you sought treatment.
Thanks to Kamper Estrada, LLP for their insight into personal injury claims and what to do after a car accident.